THEME: THE RUN FOR SALVATION
(Wisdom 11:22- 12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10)
There is a famous painting by Holman Hunt; it shows Jesus knocking gently on a door, signifying that he knocks on every human heart. But the door has no handle, which means that Jesus can only knock; it is the person inside to let him in or not; and so the door handle is on the inside. When Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, I must stay at your house today” (Lk. 19:5), Jesus was knocking on the door of Zacchaeus’ heart and he opened. He opened the door of his heart to Jesus, by listening to his voice to hurry down and playing a host to Jesus, the God made man.
There are three times Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts in a special way. He knocks when the scriptures are read and explained at Mass or other religious worship/gathering, for he said “he who listens to you, listens to me”; he knocks in the liturgy of the Eucharist, for he said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood, remains in me and I in him/her”; he knocks whenever we encounter needy people, for he said that whoever helps one of these, helps me. So, the action of Zacchaeus, he opened his heart to Jesus by his promise of charity to the poor and restitution to those he had defrauded. “Half of my goods, I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold”. Do we open our hearts when Jesus knocks? Or make added effort to see Jesus?
Zacchaeus made effort to see him. His effort to see Jesus is described as action for salvation, because the name “Jesus” means salvation. His action prompted Jesus to say: “Today salvation has come to this house”. It means salvation, deliverance, safety, preservation, etc. Zacchaeus was indeed a very wealthy and powerful man. But there was a longing in him. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but his height and the crowd constituted obstacles to the fulfilment of this desire. He made an extra effort to see Jesus. The effort of Zacchaeus to see Jesus was described with two verbs. He RAN and he CLIMBED. He has given us an example of action for salvation. He did not allow his height to be an obstacle. He did not allow the crowd to hinder him. His interest was to see Jesus.
Take note of the inconsistency of the crowd. They complained when Zacchaeus was a tax collector. They hated him. When he played host to Jesus they also complained. Do not rely on the approval of the crowd. Rely on the love of God which made him to send Jesus to seek and save the lost. If the world has condemned you, Jesus has not and he has the final say. The only thing we need is to seek him. We are empty without him. What is your own obstacle to salvation? What is preventing you from seeing Jesus?
Whatever you do to bring Jesus into your life, your home is an action for salvation. Let us run and climb for salvation. It is not easy but the grace of God is sufficient for us.