Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111720.cfm

When I try to imagine Zaccheus in my mind, somehow, I picture the actor Danny Devito!  I can just see Danny being a bit obnoxious and pushing his way through a crowd of tall people, jumping up occasionally, trying to see over them.  Then, finally, as undignified as it was, he climbs a tree in order to see! Of course, the crowd would just laugh and mock him.

I think that’s what it was like for Zaccheus whose story is a tale of unexpected contradictions.

  • First, he was socially prominent, but a despised chief tax collector, and he embarrasses himself by running and climbing a tree.
  • Second, Jesus is showing his ministry was to the rich as well as the poor, tax collectors as well as prostitutes.
  • Finally, Zaccheus thought he was seeking Jesus, but Jesus was really seeking Zaccheus.

Jesus was exalting a man who had stooped to running and climbing a tree and he honored Zaccheus by offering to go to his house.  As a result, Zaccheus became a changed man, repented, and made restitution over and above what he needed to do to those he had cheated.  God did a great thing for him.

Our good news message today is that God is doing a great thing for us as well.  God is inviting us to be open to his grace and dedicate ourselves to him.  Just now, at Communion time, Jesus invited himself into our home, our hearts, and we responded: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  That’s what happened to Zaccheus:  when Jesus entered his house and his heart, his soul was healed.

And now, throughout our day, our challenge will be to see how Jesus is inviting himself into our hearts, perhaps in a way we least expect;

  • A casual remark from someone,
  • A text or email you get,
  • Something beautiful you’ll see that causes you to pause in awe,
  • Maybe even calling us to forgive and repent, like Zaccheus.

These will be invitations to follow Christ wholeheartedly.  When Christ’s invitation comes our way today, it’s Christ’s way of saying to us the words he spoke to Zaccheus: “Hurry down.  I mean to stay at your house today.”