Zacchaeus, A Conversion That Impacted An Entire Community!

“The Son of Man has Come to seek and save what is lost.”

The Gospel today shares the powerful story of Zacchaeus and how Jesus touched his own heart and his whole family, as Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”

Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector in the city of Jericho was willing to look ridiculous, to seek Christ out in a dramatic way, by climbing a tree and allowing his curiosity to get the best of him. The tax collector wanted to “see” Jesus with his own eyes, as if he was inviting Jesus to notice him. When we go out of our way to discover the Lord, Jesus notices each action; as David proclaimed in the Psalms “Lord, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar” (Ps 139:1,2).

Jesus didn’t care what others said about Him or Zacchaeus. One of the amazing qualities of Jesus is that He was not influenced by popular opinion polls or the local town gossip. He can read hearts and know where to disperse and cultivate the seeds of faith.

Many in the town were upset by Jesus and grumbled about how Jesus was going to stay at the house of Zacchaeus. They thought it was scandalous based on how this wealthy man had treated the local people. Instead of Zacchaeus justifying himself in front of the community about his past behaviors, he had a change of heart. The once hard-hearted tax collector now proclaims to all, “ 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.” Imagine the shock and overall joy in hearing these words! Think about how much this one conversion benefitted all the people who lived there. This one conversion of heart impacted the whole region of Jericho! Zacchaeus was willing to right his wrongs and be generous to the poor.  We too are invited to encounter Jesus, to respond to that invitation and to be generous with others. Jesus wants to come into our lives, our hearts, our home, and be present while we work. 

Do we pray for the conversion of those who make our lives difficult? Do we pray for those who persecute Christians that God will transform their hearts and receive His mercy? Do we invite Jesus into our life to set our hearts on fire with the love of Christ, and love of others?

Contact the author

Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic

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