Climbing to New Heights

We hear the story of Zacchaeus on the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time. There are many different topics in this story: sinfulness, forgiveness, acceptance, reconciliation and courage.

The Life of Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus was a short man, chief tax collector and despised by society. Jesus was passing through town and Zacchaeus wanted to see him. Jesus had become quite popular and crowds often waited to see him. Tax collectors were unpopular, so people would not do anything to help them. Knowing this, the short man climbed up a sycamore tree instead of pushing and shoving his way through the large crowd.

The Life of a Tree

Near the center of present-day Jericho is an ancient sycamore tree. A sycamore can reach up to 60 meters in height and have a diameter of 2 meters. Zacchaeus climbed this tree in order to see Jesus. It must not have been an easy for a little person but his desire to catch a glance of the man who would change his life must have given him the strength and courage. Maybe Zacchaeus had realized that something was missing from his life.

Bringing the Message Home

A large part of Jesus’ earthly mission was to find the lost and save them. He found Zacchaeus, called out to him and went to stay in his home. He found forgiveness and acceptance in Jesus and reconciled with his community. Jesus calls out to us. He longs to do more than just stay in our home, he wants to have a place in our heart. Let us have the strength to climb like Zacchaeus, pray for the courage to see Jesus and give him a place to live and reach new heights in the Kingdom of God