“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Click HERE to listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation
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.”
Today’s gospel reading is full of meaning.
In this story, Jesus is on the road doing his ministry.
He’s sharing the good news of God’s unconditional love for all people and confronting the powers that be to stop oppressing those at the bottom and to treat them fairly and equally.
But Jesus intends to pass right through Jericho – until he spots this short man up in a tree.
Jesus, always open to the Spirit’s movement, follows the inner nudge to call upon Zacchaeus.
Tax collectors were despised by the people of Israel because they were seen as traitors working for the Roman oppressors.
Zacchaeus wasn’t just a tax collector – he was a chief tax collector.
He was wealthy off the backs of his own people.
Wouldn’t you think Jesus would ridicule him and give him a good scolding?
No! Jesus does the opposite.
He invites himself to stay at the tax collector’s house.
How could he?
How could Jesus have anything to do with such a sinner?
This is what the people were saying.
The openness of Jesus to be with his enemy and spend time with him, to actually be in relationship with him, is what transforms Zacchaeus.
Jesus knew that we are all children of God no matter how far off course we may roam.
Zacchaeus agrees to give half his possessions to the poor and to repay anyone he has cheated four times over.
Jesus ends this story with the line, “For the Son of Man (or human one) has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Save means to make whole.
Jesus is in the business of making wholes out of division.
He’s in the business of restorative justice.
If you are a follower of Jesus, this is your business as well.
Each of us would do well to ask ourselves these questions:
“Who is the ‘Zacchaeus’ in my life?”
“How am I like Zacchaeus?”
“How am I like the town’s people?”
Listen to the song of the day “Mercy Reigns” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.
My 4 albums and 2 books (Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart) are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.
Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.
Remember: God loves you!