Do you ever feel like you are up a tree - that you don't know how to think or what decision to make, or which way to go? The Gospel today is about a man up a tree – Zacchaeus, who as you know was a tax collector and very rich. (Luke 19:1-10)
He was an outcast among the people because he was dishonest in collecting their taxes. But, he had a great desire to see Jesus and as Jesus passed through the town he tried to catch a glimpse of him in the crowd. But Zacchaeus was a short man so he ran and climbed a Sycamore tree in order to get a better view.
And Jesus spotted him in the tree, called him by his name and urged him to come down because he wanted to have dinner at Zacchaeus’ house. St. Luke tells us that Zacchaeus hurried down from the tree and welcomed Jesus “joyfully.” Zacchaeus was a sinner but when he encountered Jesus he experienced conversion of heart! He promised to give half of his goods to the poor and to restore four times the amount he cheated from the citizens!
Amazing what an encounter with Jesus can do! We are all in need of conversion. We have a greater opportunity than Zacchaeus to see Jesus. Each day he calls us by name and tells us that he wants to lodge in our hearts. As we climb down from our busyness and respond to his call, especially in the Eucharist, he comes and stays with us. And each time he does, he fills us with the graces of conversion. Amazing! Let us respond to him joyfully as we receive him into our hearts.