Since I have been working with the RCIA candidates, I have been looking at the Gospel readings differently. One of the objectives of the RCIA program is to relate the Catechism and Scripture and the principles learned from them to daily life. So every day when I read the daily readings I try to do that.
Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 19:1 – 19. This is the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector. This is where Zacchaeus is trying to get a glimpse of Jesus but because he is vertically challenged, and no one would move to let him get to the front of the crowd, he needed to climb a sycamore tree in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus. You see, back then, just like today, being a tax collector wasn’t a job where you would make a lot of friends. This is why the crowd wouldn’t make room for him.
When Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree, he called to him to get down and invited himself to dinner. Here is a case of a man seeking Jesus only to find that Jesus was seeking him. Needless to say this angered the crowd since they considered Zacchaeus a sinner and a thief and therefore Jesus shouldn’t be in the company of such a man. But this is exactly why Jesus wanted to have dinner with him. As we read earlier in Luke 5:27 – 32, there is no reason for a doctor to treat a healthy person, it is the sick who need healing. After having dinner with Jesus, Zacchaeus was healed, he repented and gave half of his money to the poor and made reparations to any person he may have cheated.
Take a look at this line:
and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.
Zacchaeus says “If I have extorted…”, he doesn’t know if he has. He was blind to his wrongs, his sins. Do we do the same thing? Are there any sins that we may be blind to, either through negligence or ignorance? Are we keeping others from seeing Jesus through our actions? Are others keeping us from seeing Jesus, do we need to climb a tree like Zacchaeus?
There are so many things and people out there who get in our way, keeping us from seeing Jesus. We are surrounded by them and the sad thing is many of us don’t even know it. We don’t realize there are trees we can climb to see Jesus and to help him see us.