The story of Zacchaeus relates to us in certain ways. He is a chief tax collector and wealthy, seeking to see Jesus passing by Jericho, but could not see him because of his short stature, so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see him. When Jesus reached the place, he looked up and said; “ Zacchaeus, come down quickly for today I must stay at your house. (Lk. 19:1-5).
As chief tax collector and a rich man, his daily routine centers heavily on money. Short in physical stature but he ranks high in the political and business world. In Jesus’ time, tax collectors had the reputation of corruption and overtaxing and were hated by the people. Despite his money, Zacchaeus must be suffering from the stigma of social isolation and spiritual emptiness.
He must have heard about Jesus and perhaps thought that his presence in Jericho, an oasis city, will attract the influx of visitors, an occasion favorable to his business. But unknown to him, Jesus’ agenda that day included his desire to meet with him.
It’s amazing that Jesus used the words; “ Must and Today” in calling Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree indicating that he obliged himself to stay at the sinner’s house without delay for there was an urgency of mercy needed by this lost soul. It was Jesus who gazed first at Zacchaeus, a gaze of mercy.
Jesus’ visit to Zacchaeus’ house evoked grumbling among the onlookers who only focused on his sins and the bad side. Hidden from their sensitivity was his spiritual vacuum needing the refreshment of love and compassion. That encounter between the merciful God and the unmerciful sinner strikes a miracle of conversion. Zacchaeus said to Jesus; “ Lord I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I shall repay it four times over.” (Lk. 19:8).
St. Augustine said; “ I’m afraid of the passing God. I’m afraid of the Son that I might miss him. “ (Confession). Let us not miss Jesus passing by, calling us through our conscience to pray and repent. God says, “ You’re dear in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4). We meet Jesus among the needy, the homeless and the poor begging for some coins and food.
Jesus tells us to come down from our sycamore tree of pride, selfishness, superiority, and greed for, “ Today, I must stay at your house.” He knows our need for healing of spiritual and moral maladies. He wants to lead us on the right path, to reform and change our ways for the better and for good. Zacchaeus’ house may be big and furnished, but it’s not a home, empty of joy and friendship and nobody wants to come in except Jesus. Zacchaeus finds a home in him. Our house may be small and simple, but if there are charity and mercy, it’s a home.
On the flip side, someone said that God never takes something away without replacing it with something better. God’s delays are not God’s denial. Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hand in everything. God’s plan will always be more beautiful than your disappointments. Turn your worry into worship and let God work on it. God never allows pain without purpose. Sometimes God breaks your heart to save your soul. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13). Amen on that folks!!
St. Faustina wrote Jesus’ words;” Your love and humility make Me leave the heavenly throne and unite Myself to you.” (Diary 512).
Pray the Divine Mercy every 3 p.m. Daily pray the Chaplet and Holy Rosary for peace in our families and the world.
COME TO OUR HEALING MASS EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 6 P.M. AT SAN VICENTE CHURCH WITH ANOINTING OF SAN ROQUE’S BLESSED OIL AND VENERATION OF HIS SACRED RELIC.