Today I reference the story of Zacchaeus from Luke’s Gospel – how Jesus approached the tree where Zacchaeus was perched and called him down, inviting himself into Zacchaeus’ home. People were not happy about that for Zacchaeus had an undesirable reputation – that of a sinner. You know how this Gospel unfolds: the people are shocked that Jesus would go to the house of a sinner, Zacchaeus repents and promises to give back four-fold anything that he has stolen from others. What you may not remember is the final statement from Jesus:
“Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendent of Abraham. For the son of man has come to seek and save what was lost.” Luke 19.9-10
There is great promise in that statement, for we too are descendants of Abraham. But do we consider ourselves among the lost? The lost that Jesus is referring to here are the sinners and we most certainly fit that description! We are all sinners. We are all in need of salvation. Our eternal life depends upon it. The good thing about this realization is that we are also baptized into the life of Jesus Christ and salvation has therefore come to our house as well. This is pure gift! Not something we earned, rather a gift freely given by God in the sacrifice of his own Son, that we might gain eternal life with God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Knowing this by our shared faith in Jesus Christ and trusting that God is a merciful God we can celebrate like Zacchaeus must have with joy in his salvation. But Zacchaeus did more than that, he was moved to make changes in his way of life and in thanksgiving he went further promising Jesus he would be abundantly generous to those he had sinned against. Ought we not do the same? How are we called to change our lives in response to the gift of salvation? How will Jesus know we have repented and changed our misguided ways? We must admit our sinfulness. We must show our remorse and ask for forgiveness lest we remain among the lost. Jesus came to free all from the grip of sin, we need only accept the gift and live in love with all the descendants of Abraham; that is, all people of the world.
With thanks to God,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC