The Gospel of Luke 19: 1-10 presents us with a number of examples of how anyone of us can meet Jesus.
The Gospel presents us with people, who are good people, but still feel that something is missing in their lives. They know that they must get to know and have a relationship with Jesus. He is the source of new hope and stability for them.
Today we meet Zacchaeus who is a tax collector and a very rich man. To meet Jesus he has to climb into a tree. He cannot see Jesus because there is such a big crowd and as a short man he cannot see Jesus over the crowd.
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Zacchaeus does not confess his sins nor does he repent. He simply says that he is a good man who is not happy with his life.
Many of us might understand Zacchaeus. We consider ourselves normal, but we know in our hearts that something is not normal.
Usually Jesus takes the side of the poor and those who are oppressed. Zacchaeus is a very rich man, but he is hated by his neighbours. They think that he is a thief and only takes advantage of people.
Jesus, when meeting him, likes him very much, and tells him to come down from the tree because he will be visiting in his house.
Jesus says that He cares for all who want to see Him. He tells the crowd that this chief tax collector is also a child of God. God loves him. He seeks all who are lost. What a lesson for us. We too, no matter what our personal history, have a place in God’s home.
Zacchaeus went to great length to see Jesus. Not being a tall man he had to climb a tree to see Jesus. This was humiliating for him as rich men do not climb trees.
There is a lesson for us in this. Jesus promises us that anyone, anyone who desires to see Jesus will. More than that- anyone who want to see Jesus will also be seen by God and will be saved by God.
Zacchaeus changed his attitude and life because he had a desire to do so. We should not judge others by the way we think they act.
In our Christian lives, we should not exclude anyone from our community or church because they do not seem to be keeping the laws as we think they should. God is merciful and wants all to be saved. We are all sinners who need the love and mercy of God.
How many times do we declare that some people whom we do not like will never go to heaven and will be rejected by God forever. It is not us to us to judge people. It is up to God.
Jesus has come to save those who are lost as he says in verse 10, “for the Son of God has come to seek and to save the lost”.
We often get lost in life. Let us not lose hope that we can meet God if we want to.
Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM
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