Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector—a profession that was tied to dishonesty, and thus was despised by others as a “sinner.” Zacchaeus was “seeking to see who Jesus was,” but all he did was climb a tree—that’s the very little, but most practical first step that he took. Zacchaeus simply climbed a tree. After having made this small action, it’s reassuring to see that Jesus took over from there. Jesus took the initiative to start a conversation.
The Gospel of Luke highlights an important theme: God’s grace is free and unmerited, and God is the gift giver who blesses those who are not weighed down with possessions or so caught up in themselves. This idea finds resonance in what St. Teresa of Calcutta wrote: “Zacchaeus was a little man—a small man—and he knew his smallness. He recognized his smallness and made a very simple decision in order to see Jesus. He climbed a tree because he knew he was small. If he hadn’t opened his heart and responded to Jesus in that simple way, Jesus could not have shown His love, He could not have said, “Come down, Zacchaeus! Come down!” This is the foundation of everything: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Be small.”
Jesus seeks and saves what is lost, and it is those who are small and humble who realize that everything depends on God. We may have to take the first step to God, but we can trust that far more important than our own actions, is the reality of what God does, and is doing, in our lives.
Reflection Question: If you are seeking to see Jesus in a particular person or a situation, what is the first step Jesus is asking of you?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB