Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(Revelation 3:1-6.14-22; Luke 19:1-10)
George Harrison expressed the desire of Zacchaeus and each of us when he sang, “Lord, I just want to see you.” Zacchaeus climbs a tree to get a bird eye’s view of Jesus passing by. We have to strain our imaginations to picture him. Although he is often portrayed as tall, ruddy, and long-haired, the gospels actually reveal nothing of what Jesus looked like.
But seeing Jesus with one’s eyes holds no great advantage. Most of those who saw Jesus did not choose to follow him. Indeed, the majority of witnesses to his miracles turned their backs on his call to conversion. More important than seeing Jesus is having faith in him. As he says in John’s Gospel, “’Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.’”
Surprising to many, Zacchaeus expresses such faith. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus is expected to swindle the poor, not to treat them with kindness. But he couldn’t be more generous as he promises to give the needy half of his possessions. The only recognizable motive for his doing so is his belief that since Jesus brings salvation, what better thing is there to do with one’s wealth than to share it with Jesus’ special friends.