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 clear view of Jesus. People today have to strain their imaginations to picture him. Although Jesus is portrayed in popular art as tall, long-haired, and handsome, the gospels actually say nothing about his physical appearance.
But seeing Jesus holds no great advantage. Most of those who saw Jesus in the gospels chose not 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. Believing that he reveals the Father’s boundless mercy brings one close to salvation.
Surprising to many, Zacchaeus expresses such faith. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus is expected to swindle the poor, not to give them half his fortune. The only recognizable motive for his doing so is his belief that Jesus bears God’s peace. He is perhaps thinking, “What better way to spend my money than to share it with Jesus’ special friends.” We do well to sort out our year’s end surpluses in the same way.