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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Zacchaeus Come Down

"You rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!"  Wis 12:2

The Gospel passage about Zacchaeus, the tax collector, perhaps because of the detail it offers us, is easy to picture. A little man in body and spirit, Zacchaeus climbs a tree in order to see Jesus, and his efforts are rewarded. Willing to "stick his neck out" and risk ridicule, Zacchaeus catches Jesus' attention, and when the Lord calls him to come down from the tree Zacchaeus responds quickly. Jesus wants to eat at his home despite the protests of the leaders of the Jews, and Zacchaus is moved to transformation. Filled with an honest recognition of his faults,  Zacchaeus promises to make amends to all those he has defrauded, and Jesus invites all present to rejoice because someone who was lost has returned to his senses and his faith.

Blessed John XXIII writing with great wisdom in his personal Journal reminded those in authority to, "See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little." Reading Pope John's admonition reminds us of the Jesus we encounter in the scene with Zacchaeus. Refusing to reduce Zacchaeus to what he does, Jesus sees the tax collector as a seeker, and when Zacchaeus experiences Jesus' compassion, he begs pardon and shames those who criticized Jesus for having dinner with him. Corrected gently, Zacchaeus knows Jesus is giving him a second chance, and when he takes it his whole life changes. 

As believers we have two opportunities. We can, like Jesus, correct a little in his name, but perhaps more graciously and honestly, we can accept the Lord's invitation to change our lives.

Today, overlook something that bothers you.

Who taught you most about transformation and renewal?

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