“At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.’ And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.’ But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.’” [Luke 19:1-10]
What is the message of Saint Luke with regard to this Gospel? It appears that Zacchaeus, who has wealth that he can share it to the poor, as part of his transformation?
Jesus made the invitation and Zacchaeus responded to this invitation, and he found something more precious than his wealth?
In this day and age, there are few people who may want to share their wealth with the poor. Because they accumulate this wealth through blood, sweat and tears. They work hard, and others should do the same?
Zacchaeus was a tax collector whom he defrauded others by cheating to their income taxes that he collected.
Jesus is not searching for well behave people. He is searching among the people who are lost like Zacchaeus. Anyone has given a second chance to change his or her ways if a person is willing to submit himself and accept Jesus as their savior.
Is Jesus looking for a handsome man or pretty woman to draw his attention? He chose to dine with the chief tax collector who is short in stature. However, he is a wealthy man. Is Jesus interested on his wealth?
Jesus kept his promise to us that one day we will be with him in paradise when the time come. Did we keep our promise to him?
What is the purpose of Jesus’ invitation? Did Jesus talk to him about his bad habits?
Why did Zacchaeus volunteer to make such generous restitution to those he cheated? He felt guilty? His heart was full of love and gratitude toward Jesus? He wanted to be accepted by the community? A miracle happened in his life?
In several of his parables (cf. 15:1-32) Jesus vividly described the mercy shown by God when a sinner repents. The story of Zacchaeus is a case in point.
This man is a son of Abraham, who has not been living according to the demands of the covenant. However, Jesus has come to save everyone, even those who have strayed and Ezek 34:16: “he will seek the lost, and he will bring back the strayed, and he will bind up the crippled, and he will strengthen the weak …”). And so, in response to Zacchaeus’ curiosity, Jesus calls him by his name and welcomes him. That meeting with Christ results in joy and salvation.
Many lessons flow from this episode. Firstly, that our Lord looks for us, no matter what situation we find or place ourselves in.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector working for the Roman authorities; because of these tax collectors, they abused their power, they were despised by the people.
“[Our Lord] chooses a chief tax collector: who can despair when such a man obtains grace?” (Saint Ambrose, Exposition Evangelii secundum Lucam, ad loc.).
Finally, there is the way Zacchaeus responds to grace. By resolving to restore fourfold anything he has wrongly appropriated, he fulfills the Law of Moses (see Ex 21:37); and, in addition, he gives away half his property: “Let the rich learn,” Saint Ambrose comments, “that evil does not consist in having wealth, but in not putting it to good use; for just as riches are an obstacle to evil people, they are also a means of virtue for good people” (Exposit5io Evangelium secundum Luc, ad loc.).