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The conversion of Zacchaeus


In today’s Gospel we see how the power of God’s love and mercy touched the heart of Zacchaeus. He wanted to see Jesus because he wanted to know him and the power and love of God flowing from him.

Because Zacchaeus was short, he made the extra effort to run ahead of the crowd and climb a tree in order to see Jesus. Jesus Christ recognized his special effort and knew he was ready to receive the grace of conversion by repenting of his sins of greed, neglecting the poor and extortion.

Jesus sees Zacchaeus humbly clinging to a tree to see him, and says, ―Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.‖ Zacchaeus came down quickly and received Jesus with joy!

Some in the crowd grumble about Zacchaeus being a sinner, and this is when Zacchaeus realizes – as we all should realize – that we need to make satisfaction for the damage our sins have caused to the moral and spiritual order.

Zacchaeus tells the Lord what his penance will be to heal the injuries of his sins. ―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.‖

Jesus said to him and to all who repent of their sins and intend to do penance, ―Today salva-tion has come to this house…. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.‖

Zacchaeus became a good example for his household, his whole family. He understood more fully that God made him for love, and he must de-pend completely upon the all-powerful God and his loving plan of salvation. Zacchaeus led others to God by repenting of his sins and seeking Jesus with joy.

Jesus Christ rejoiced that Zacchaeus received him and his Apostles into his home that day. Jesus met his family and dined under the roof of this man who humbly climbed a tree to see him.

When Jesus left on the way to Jerusalem, he hoped that Zacchaeus and his family would recognize that he too would prepare a meal for them, a heavenly meal. After the Last Supper with his Apostles, Jesus climbed the tree of the cross and humbly clings to it to see if we, like Zacchaeus, will humbly and joyfully follow him into heaven by being a good loving example to our family and friends. Amen.