Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."
The theme of today’s Gospel is about our desire.
Having healed a blind beggar, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, in Jericho, a large crowd followed Jesus. Zacchaeus probably had also heard about this miracle, so he wanted to see Jesus. Because he was a short man and the large crowd, he knew that his chance of seeing Jesus would be slim. But his desire of seeing Jesus was so great that he first looked for a place where Jesus would pass through. Then he found a sycamore tree in that place and climbed up to it. When he was doing all these, the only desire that Zacchaeus had was to see Jesus and did not care about his social status.
At the beginning, Zacchaeus only wanted to see Jesus. Probably, he was curious about Jesus after having heard what he had done in Jericho. Probably, he simply wanted to take a look of this man who did miracle. Probably, he was interesting in what Jesus did. Probably, he wanted to see Jesus so that he could have common topic to talk with others, just like what fans do to their idols nowadays.
What Zacchaeus had never expected was his curiosity would be met by Jesus’ generosity. We can imagine Zacchaeus’ excitement when Jesus looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." He might not believe his own ears because not a prophet would like to be the guest of a sinner like him, who was the chief tax collector of Roman Empire. Jesus’ generosity also caused grumbling among the crowd who said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner."
Jesus’ love and generosity soon had effect on Zacchaeus. He transformed Zacchaeus into another person beyond recognition. He said to Jesus, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." See how he addressed Jesus! It sounds like that he has finally found the meaning of his life.
In reply, Jesus told him, "Today salvation has come to this house." Salvation means God’s grace to enable us to see all things created through Our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Further, from t Zacchaeus, we learn that all our desires are true. When we feel hungry, our desire is food. When we are thirsty, water will be our desire. But, not all our desires are authentic. Like Zacchaeus , we have to ask ourselves, “What is my authentic desire?” May the Holy Spirit guide me to find the answer. Amen.