Tag Archives: Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus found mercy

We are fast approaching the end of the secular year, and certainly the liturgical year. The Church ends her journey on the calendar year on the Solemnity of Christ the King, in 2103 this feast falls on 24 November. Slowly, the Church helps us to encounter and dialogue with conversion in a very serious way: times are changing… New England experiences a change in temperature, other parts of the world are getting rains, other parts are in their summer –we can experience something different to the environment and so why not be aware of the interior changes happening within. Today, the 31st Sunday through the liturgical year has us hearing the biblical narrative of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) , a man who knows he is neither right with God nor with fellow men. The desires of his heart moved Zacchaeus to find a way to see the Lord and yet the Lord first spoke to Zacchaeus: come down, I am coming to where you live now. Are you and I going to allow the Lord into our home?

Saint Cyril of Alexandria offers us a keen reflection: “Zacchaeus was leader of the tax collectors, a man entirely abandoned to greed, whose only goal was the increase of his gains. This was the practice of the tax collectors, although Paul calls it idolatry, possibly as being suitable only for those who have no knowledge of God. Since they shamelessly, openly professed this vice, the Lord very justly joined them with the prostitutes, saying ‘The prostitutes and the tax collectors go before you into the kingdom of God.’ Zacchaeus did not continue to be among them, but he was found worthy of mercy at Christ’s hands. He calls near those who are far away and gives light to those who are in darkness.”

Mercy is love without boundaries.

Why Zacchaeus is important for Christians

zacchaeusDo we know about Jesus, or have we met him? If we have met Jesus, where was (is) that?

Do you ever wonder about the small man Zacchaeus, the tax collector, we hear about in the gospel? Is there something important that we ought to hear anew with the biblical narrative of Zacchaeus? What’s the point? Doing lectio divina and working on my spiritual life I have come realize it is not enough to know about Jesus, but like Zacchaeus to want to see the Lord. He wanted to meet Jesus. Little Zacchaeus wanted to meet the Person who answered the needs of his human heart.

The desire to see Jesus of Nazareth moves the heart in a most deep way even to the point of confusing us at times. Even to the point of climbing a tree, a childish behavior, Zacchaeus had to see Jesus pass by.

Obstacles in meeting the Lord are always present: family, friends, church and societal leaders, addictions, sin, a divided heart, ideology, etc. But the obstacles are not the final answer, nor a barrier that is insurmountable. God’s grace is available.

Jesus loved Zacchaeus when virtually no one loved him. Hence, the radical change in life for Zacchaeus; recall that he gave much of his assets away and followed Jesus. We ought to be eager as Zacchaeus was to make amends, to make a conversion of heart (that is, to confess our sin and life differently) and Jesus draws sinners to himself. I think of the Jews who just celebrated on Saturday the feast of Yom Kippur, a day of repentance and the conversion, recognizing the need to draw closer to God and to allow to draw closer to us.

Can we show the same mercy the Lord showed to Zacchaeus to others? In fact, this is the mission we have because of our Baptism and because we profess to be disciples of Him whose gaze upon us by changing us. Do I shield my gaze from the Lord and give it to distractions?

Zacchaeus hears Jesus’s words: TODAY, I must stay with you. In other words, Jesus says to him, and thus to us, can I show you love? Can I give you the words of repentance and new life? Can I walk, build and confess the Lord? The Lord tells us in this narrative that anything, really anything, is possible if you allow Him into your life.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria offers us a keen reflection:

“Zacchaeus was leader of the tax collectors, a man entirely abandoned to greed, whose only goal was the increase of his gains. This was the practice of the tax collectors, although Paul calls it idolatry, possibly as being suitable only for those who have no knowledge of God. Since they shamelessly, openly professed this vice, the Lord very justly joined them with the prostitutes, saying ‘The prostitutes and the tax collectors go before you into the kingdom of God.’ Zacchaeus did not continue to be among them, but he was found worthy of mercy at Christ’s hands. He calls near those who are far away and gives light to those who are in darkness.”

Our Lord teaches us to love and what it means to love; can Jesus be our guest? Is he allowed to enter our house? Can I build with a unified heart a “civilization of love”?

Zacchaeus had the opportunity of a lifetime

Zacchaeus in the sycamore.jpg

When the Lord gazes upon you, looks up you with mercy, love, and interest, are you going to grumble and run away? Or, will you invite the Lord into your home with joy?

The gaze of the Lord is nothing less than THE miracle of a lifetime. God excludes no one, his salvation is give to all people. The lost are sought after by God and offers the chance for conversion. The Lord answers our human need with Himself. His Presence, the same as His Eucharistic Presence does today. His Presence is what we all long for.
The opportunity shared in was likely once in a lifetime … the Lord came to his home.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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