Jesus calls Zaccheus and he repents, makes reparations and is saved. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he can recognize and have deep sorrow for his sins and by building the Virtue of Vindication so he can hold himself accountable to seek to make things right when he hurts others.
31st Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle C – Lk 19:1-10
Passing through the ancient city of Jericho on the way towards His Passion in Jerusalem, Jesus is surrounded by a huge crowd. A chief tax collector of the region named Zacchaeus, desperately attempts to get a glimpse of Jesus, but cannot because of the crowd. Zacchaeus, whose name ironically means “clean, pure”, was a serious sinner: tax collectors were notorious sinners who worked for the occupying Romans to squeeze taxes out of the Jews, often stealing by overcharging. Zacchaeus was rich and in charge of multiple tax collectors; he was probably one of the most hated men in Jericho.
Because Zacchaeus is short in stature, he cannot see Jesus through the crowd, so he desperately runs ahead and climbs a tree to get even a glimpse of Jesus as He passes by; it is an act of humility, but also embarrassing in an honor-based culture, for Zacchaeus has acted in an undignified way for a man of his prominence, authority, and age. Mysteriously, as Jesus passes by, He knows Zacchaeus by sight and by name. Jesus commands Zacchaeus to come down and announces that He will stay at Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus’ selection of Zacchaeus is shocking, for Jesus, instead of selecting a holy and righteous man, He has selected one of the most hated and sinful men in the village.
In an incredible conversion, Zacchaeus obeys and joyfully receives Jesus. The crowd, knowing of Zacchaeus’ past treachery, are scandalized that Jesus would enter the house of such a contemptible sinner. But Zacchaeus stuns: he promises to repay those he has cheated four-fold, the law only required a two-fold restitution, and to give away half of his wealth. After Zacchaeus makes his public act of contrition and reparation, Jesus proclaims that Zacchaeus has been saved.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be moved by the genius of Jesus as He engages Zacchaeus to build the Kingdom: Divine Knowledge, Jesus has a stunning understanding of the states of individual souls and communities of souls, and the ability to devise and implement strategies and simple acts which have tremendous impact on Salvation History; the perfection of Prudence, Jesus thoughtfully calls the well-known Zacchaeus, whose remarkable unexpected conversion undoubtedly leads many others to Him; Jesus has a powerful Charisma, which instantaneously converts the heart of the sinful Zacchaeus; Divine Priest, through His calling of Zacchaeus, Jesus previews the necessity of repentance and reparation in the Sacrament of Penance.
Recognize and have deep sorrow for your sins
Realize: Jesus’ revelation that Zacchaeus has been “saved”, happens only after Zacchaeus, full of contrition, which is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again, repents from his sins and offers extraordinary reparation for his theft.
Believe: Reflect upon Contrition (CCC 1451-1454, 1457, 1480, 1492).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so You make me aware of the evil consequences of my sin, I have perfect contrition, and I can avoid sinning in the future.
Seek to make things right when you hurt others
Realize: Like Zacchaeus, men who have perfect contrition, have a strong desire to make reparation for their sins; Jesus demonstrates the ultimate example of reparation for the sins of men by dying on the Cross to redeem mankind (CCC 613-617, 619-623).
Believe: Reflect upon Reparation (CCC 1491, 2409, 2412, 2454, 2487, 2509).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Judge, help me build the Virtue of Vindication (a part of Justice) so I always recognize the damage of my sins and I prudently act to make reparations when I hurt others, consistent with Your will.