November 3, 2013: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 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.” (Luke 19:1-10)
There’s so much to love and imitate about Zacchaeus!
He’s so enthusiastic and determined just to see Jesus. He welcomes Jesus to his house with joy.
When people make unkind comments, he doesn’t snap back—instead he makes a very generous promise of amendment. He is aware of the poor and commits to giving them half of everything he has!
On the other hand, this story shows us the mean attitudes of some of the neighbors of Zacchaeus. Did they have a right to judge anyone as a sinner, or to criticize Jesus for his choice of companions? For that matter, did any of them offer Jesus a place to stay?
If you are left out of the “in” group, or if mean things are said to you or about you, be like Zacchaeus—focus first of all on Jesus and his love for you, and then do something special for someone who is much worse off.
If you hear unkind remarks about someone else, or see that someone is being excluded, be like Jesus—be kind enough and brave enough to include that person in a special activity.