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Zacchaeus the tax collector

Gospel Reading: Lk 19:1-10
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 to him, “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.”

Jesus pronounces these words to Zacchaeus to acknowledge the latter’s conversion. A chief tax collector working for the hated Romans, Zacchaeus is considered a public, big-time sinner, and the Pharisees teach the people to avoid someone like him. Aware of the public sentiment but desirous to see Jesus, he climbs a sycamore tree. Jesus sees Zacchaeus and invites himself to his home. Zacchaeus feels honored and receives Jesus with joy. The encounter brings changes in Zacchaeus; not everyone rejects him, after all. Immediately, he promises to be just and charitable, in keeping with John the Baptist’s teaching on repentance. Thus, Jesus declares, “Today salvation has come to this house.” What Jesus says is not only for Zacchaeus but also for the Pharisees who object to Jesus’ association with sinners. Unlike the Pharisees who see themselves as protecting the Law with their interpretations, Jesus states that his mission is “to seek and to save what was lost.” When we welcome Jesus no matter how sinful we are, we know that salvation has come to us.

Do you feel changed when you welcome Jesus into your heart?

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.