Rev 3,1-6.14-22 / Lk 19,1-10
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 to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all 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.”
IN OTHER WORDS
Nowadays it is common that we receive texts or email messages telling us to our surprise that we have won a huge prize money. Surprise turns to quandary when we realize that we have not joined any sort of contest or lottery. All of these are of course scam and many are duped, reversing the luck and blessing into misfortune.
The experience of Zacchaeus is different. Only wanting to see Jesus, it was far from his mind that he would be the lucky guy among those who wanted a glimpse of this rising miracle worker. His prize was more than money could buy, “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.”
But what made Zacchaeus deserving of Jesus’ special and instant blessing? It was not his riches earned through dishonesty as a tax collector. It was rather his sincere desire to see Jesus. Seeing
Jesus in this case is not merely a simple getting a glimpse of how Jesus looks but a burning and genuine desire to go back to the righteous path. Climbing a sycamore tree was expressive of this desire for conversion, not minding the embarrassment he would get from those who would nd his action ridiculous. Ridiculed by his town mates, Zacchaeus declared his decision to amend his sinful ways, repaying fourfold those whom he had extorted money. Any genuine conversion is always matched with a corresponding action.
When Pope Francis visited the Philippines in January last year 2015, countless Zacchaeuses lined up, climbed trees and buildings, braved either the scorching sun or the soaking rain in order to get a glimpse of this man with the mercy and compassion of Jesus. Countless of us were touched, blessed and transformed.
- Fr. Raul Caga, SVD | DWST, Tagaytay City
The Word in other words 2016
An annual project of Logos Publications, The WORD in Other Words Bible Diary contains daily scripture readings and reflections written by priest, brothers, and sisters of the three congregations founded by St. Arnold Janssen (the SVD, SSpS, and SSpSAP). It hopes to serve as a daily companion to readers who continually seek the correlation of the Word of God and human experience.