Part of the appeal of the Zacchaeus story is how unexpected it all is. We have no indication Zacchaeus had any idea of Jesus’ itinerary, or perhaps he was just eager to see what all the commotion was about. Even Jesus was “intending to pass through the town,” not make spontaneous dinner plans. And yet, this encounter becomes one of the most memorable in the Gospels.
Zacchaeus shows extraordinary courage in this moment. Facing who knows how many years of scorn from his neighbors, he could have easily slunk away in disgrace. Instead, he takes a chance on Jesus, the one person who saw his dignity and promise as a “descendant of Abraham.” The tax collector’s heart is moved, his soul transformed, and he becomes a new man.
Can I open myself to that sort of grace? Like Jesus, can I see the possibility in those who may have been written off by others?
Living Faith provides brief daily Catholic devotions based on one of the Mass readings of the day. Published new each quarter, these reflections are written by women and men from a variety of backgrounds - lay people as well as clergy and religious. Learn more.
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