THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
November 9, 2013
Today’s gospel: Luke 19:1-10
In encountering Jesus, Zacchaeus experienced many opposites
in his life.
He “climbed a sycamore tree” but was asked by
Jesus to “come down quickly” (v.4a,5b).
was “a wealthy man” who as chief tax collector
took from the poor, but then offered “half of (his)
possessions .... to the poor” (v.2c,8a).
as “a chief tax collector” took in lots of revenue
that made him rich, but offered to give out lots of money,
that “if (he) had extorted anything from anyone (he)
would repay it four times over.” (v.2b,8b).
was short in stature,” referring not just to his physical
height but also to his stature within the community, as
he was despised and effectively considered outside of God’s
people. But Jesus acknowledged his true stature as an Israelite
and his reward, as he said to him, “Today salvation
has come to this house because this man too is a descendant
of Abraham.” (v.9).
What occasioned such positive opposites to happen in Zacchaeus’
life? It was his personal encounter with Jesus. That made
all the difference.
He “was seeking to see who Jesus was” (v.3a).
He wanted to meet Christ.
they met, Jesus said to him, “today I must stay at
your house.” (v.5c). They would get to know each other,
and out of that intimate encounter, as Jesus entered his
house, he would be changed. He would start to live
Then he would give half of his possessions to the poor and
repay four times over those he extorted from.
Those people would of course have been shocked. Tax collectors
take, not give. One who repays pays what he took, not four
times over. One does not give away half his possessions, especially
to the poor from whom he cannot get any benefit in return.
Why would he do that? He would say it is because of his encounter
with Jesus. He would then share Christ.
did Jesus come into the world? “For the Son of Man has
come to seek and to save what was lost.” (v.10). Jesus
came to save us. Jesus came especially for sinners. Jesus
“came to Jericho” (v.1a) and Zacchaeus was saved.
Jesus came into the world and all humankind has been saved.
do we avail of the salvation already won by Jesus for us on
the cross? Through our repentance and faith, manifested by
works, such as restitution and justice to others. But just
as Jesus “intended to pass through the town” (v.1b),
he also passes through our lives. Though God wants all to
be saved, oftentimes there is just a window of opportunity.
Jesus tries to break through our lives. How do we respond?
does all this happen? When God’s people proclaim the
gospel of salvation, so that people would meet Christ, then
start to live Christ, and later themselves even share Christ.
When that happens, then Jesus not only comes to our home “to
stay at the house of a sinner” (v.7b), but we also ultimately
get to go to Jesus’ home, and stay in our dwelling in
next time Jesus passes through and say to us, “come
down quickly, for today I must stay at your house” (v.5b),
our response must be like that of Zacchaeus, who “came
down quickly and received him with joy.” (v.6).
* * *