November 21, 2023 –
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Zacchaeus is a rich collector of taxes. Each of us, like him, is attached to worldly things, no matter how simple. St. John of the Cross says that just as it does not matter if a bird is tied down by a thick rope or a thin string, so it does not matter if a Christian is tied down by wealthy goods or simple desires. An attachment is an attachment, and any attachment—no matter how slight—keeps us from union with God.
On the other hand, Zacchaeus, like you, wants to see who Jesus is. But Zacchaeus has two strikes against him.
The first strike against Zacchaeus is the crowd, because everyone wants to see Jesus. It’s easy to get lost and not to be loved in a crowd. One might ask himself, “How can Jesus love everyone?”
The second strike against Zacchaeus is his small size, which may represent the size of one’s own soul. One might feel unworthy of God’s love, and ask himself, “How could Jesus love little old me?”
So Zacchaeus climbs up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus. This is all Zacchaeus wants: to see Jesus. But that’s not enough for Jesus, so large is Jesus’ Sacred Heart.
Here’s the turning point in this Gospel passage. When Jesus reached the tree that Zacchaeus had climbed, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly; for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus takes the initiative to reach out to the individual sinner. Just as He reached out to this little sinner, so He asks entry into the fullness of your heart, mind and soul.