“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” – (Blaise Pascal)
Gospel Text: (LK 19:1-10)
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."
Just why is this surprising? It is surprising for many reasons.
Zaccheaus was the “chief tax collector and also a wealthy man.” By many standards, Zaccheaus was a grave sinner. By most standards, God should want nothing to do with Zaccheaus. But Zaccheaus knows that he needs to see Jesus. He doesn’t know why he needs to see him, but he knows that he needs to. Jesus finds Zaccheaus out on the limb and places himself right in the middle of Zaccheaus’s home, right in the middle of his sin.
It is noteworthy that Jesus says, “for today I must stay at your house.” He didn’t say he wanted to “visit.” Jesus isn’t going anywhere. What does this mean for me? It means that if I go out on a limb for Christ then he will meet me right where I am. He will enter your very home, and he isn’t going to leave you. He doesn’t care if your home is messy. He doesn’t care how dark your sin is.
He does this in the Eucharist, when we receive it in the state of grace after a Sacramental Confession. He enters your very body and doesn’t leave you. So this week, let Christ into your heart and into those dark twisty parts you’d prefer no one knew about. Like Zaccheus, you may never be the same again. Zaccheaus “gave to the poor and repayed his debts four times over.” Scary stuff. But think about it, if you let Jesus in like Zaccheaus did, how could your life change?