“And he sought to see Jesus” (verse 3).
Zachaeus, the chief tax collector, who was presented to us in today’s Gospel reading, was empowered by the Government authorities to determine and collect state taxes. This provided him with wealth and power. But his soul was empty. How can material goods satisfy his spirit? He had heard of Jesus and that He was interested in the good of all people. Even for the unjust tax collectors, like him. And Zacchaeus felt within him the strong desire to meet Jesus, to see Him in person, so that his soul might be relieved from feelings of remorse, because of the so many injustices he had committed! And one day he hears that Jesus is coming to Jericho, his city. Many others were also rushing to meet Jesus. However, many people had encircled Jesus, and as Zacchaeus was short in stature he could not see Him. But what does he do? Defying the ironic comments of the people when they would see him climb on the tree as a child, he calculates the point where Jesus would pass by and climbs on a fig tree to see Jesus as close as possible with his own eyes and so to meet Him, how He is!
By the way, do we contemporary Christian, have the desire of the tax collector Zacchaeus to get to know deeply who Jesus Christ truly is?
Have we shown an interest in studying the sacred Gospels carefully, in order to get to know Jesus exactly who He is? Do we really know how Jesus lived here on earth? Have we been interested in learning what Christ expects from us? Unfortunately, there are many people, who have the wrong impression of Jesus. They think that He is strict! That He asks for things which cannot be applied today by people. This shows a total ignorance of His words:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. (Matt. 11:28-29)
One may wonder how many people have understood that Christ, through His teaching, seeks to make people eternally happy. Christ Himself emphasized it during the Last Supper: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 16:11). Just as the joy of Zaccheus that was full when he welcomed Jesus to his home and his life changed forever since!
My dear brothers and sisters, let us try, starting today, to get to know better our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us not lose any opportunity that our Church offers in order to reveal to us His immense love, His protection, His help, His support and His guidance, which He willingly offers to us, as long as we ask Him for it. And He will also give us the joy, the true joy, that our Lord Jesus Christ secures us both in this temporary life and in heaven, where we will be deemed worthy to see Him “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13: 12), and indeed within His Divine Glory! Amen!