The Gospel according to Luke (19:1-10)
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being willing to stay at my house, even though I fall short of being a worthy disciple of Yours. Please help me to recognize Your voice calling my name, and do all I can to listen to Your word and act on it today. Amen.
Today’s Gospel is one of the most well-known stories of Jesus, His encounter with Zacchaeus, the short tax collector who climbed a tree to see Him. I remember it well from my pre-Catholic childhood. I think it especially resonated with me, because I was about the littlest in my class all the way from kindergarten until my sophomore year in high school.
The part that I find most striking is how it was that Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name! I mean, Jesus was only planning to “pass through” Jericho. We have no reason to think that He would ever have met Zacchaeus before. And yet, here He is, calling Zacchaeus by name. It’s a great reminder of how it is that Jesus knows each of us by our name as well. And, He calls to us every day to share His love and His light with the world.
Would that we would respond like Zacchaeus did in today’s Gospel. He truly reformed his life, and became a brand-new person. It was almost as if Jesus baptized Zacchaeus just by inviting Himself to Zacchaeus’ house! Surely there was more than that, but just being in Jesus’ presence was enough.
Each of us, by virtue of our Catholic faith, is a descendant of Abraham, and as such, is worthy of Jesus’ attention. We don’t do anything to earn it (and truly, we can never earn it on our own merits). I, for one, am thankful that grace is not dependent on anything I may try to do to earn it. I just don’t think I would ever do anything good enough to merit that kind of grace.
Thanks be to God that He loves me and gifts me with that sort of grace, just because of that love that He has for me! Now, all I have to do is to share it as freely and unconditionally as it is given to me. And, know that Jesus calls each of us by our name, wanting to spend time in our house. Would we be as willing as Zacchaeus to reform our lives so totally?
Closing Prayer: Lord, thank You for all the grace You give to me. May I share it as willingly as You share it with me! Help me to be a sign of Your love, and to share Your light so that someone else may come to know You as I do! Amen.
Action for the Day: Prayerfully think of the one person who most needs God’s grace today and offer a prayer for that person.