When Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man named Zaccheus lived there. He was a tax collector and a wealthy man. He wanted to see what Jesus was like, but he was a short man and could not see him because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree. From there he would be able to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, come down quickly, for I must stay at your house today.” So Zaccheus climbed down and received him joyfully.
All the people who saw it began to grumble, and said, “He has gone as a guest to the house of a sinner.” But Zaccheus spoke to Jesus, “Half of what I own, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.” Looking at him Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today, for he is also a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
The conversion of Zaccheus, is an evangelical model. Let us follow him step by step.
First we stress the humility of this man. He acknowledges his shortness. He climbs a tree, hoping to see Jesus passing, but in a hidden way.
Second, let us admire his prompt answer to the words of Jesus. In fact, as soon as Jesus manifests his wish to be his guest, his reaction is beyond expectation and becomes a public confession and repentance of his sin. The great temptation of tax collectors was in fact financial corruption.
After his resolution he is overflowing with joy. This is already his full conversion.
Jesus takes a simple apology from him against the grumbling of the people and reaffirms his mission among us. Truly, Zaccheus was a son of Abraham, and salvation entered his house and his heart. As in similar cases, Jesus reminds us about his messianic purpose: “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
The example of Zaccheus can give us hope and optimism about the possibility of conversion to justice of officials who are under the shadow of corruption. They may need loving an invitation from the apostles of Jesus today.
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