He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”
Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Is it not true that authentic love naturally leads to generosity? When we love someone, we desire to share what we have and are with that person. We don’t count the cost or calculate the sacrifice. Any “burden” becomes joyful because we want to give ourselves away as gift to the beloved.
In the Gospel today, Zacchaeus encounters Love itself, Who touches and transforms him profoundly. What begins as curiosity—climbing a tree “seeking to see who Jesus was”—ends in happiness: “he came down quickly and received him with joy.” The wealthy Zacchaeus promises to donate half his wealth to the poor and make a four-fold restitution to his extortion victims. Like St. Paul, he considers everything else as loss and rubbish now that he knows the love of Christ Jesus.
We might reflect on ourselves today and ask: What has been the most powerful, transforming encounter I have had with the saving love of Jesus? Also: How do I give myself to God and others out of love, and are there new acts of generosity to which I can pledge myself?
—Fr. Rob Kroll, S.J.
Lord, we take great comfort in knowing that you “came to seek out and to save the lost.” Even if we have withdrawn from you or become lackadaisical in our relationship with you, nothing will deter you from seeking to reunite with us. Perhaps you connect with us through the love of our family, through what we read or listen to, through nature and our pets, or through coincidences that are really God incidents. Lord, we thank you for such generosity, and we pledge to be your voice of hope. While we have fallen short any number of times, we will use these disappointments to give testimony to your faithfulness and your never ending quest to join your Spirit to our spirit.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!