Homily for 31st Sunday
The gospel reading talks about three things: the searching sinner, the seeking Saviour and the spectacular salvation.
The Searching Sinner: While Zacchaeus was very wealthy and successful by the world’s standards, he knew something was missing. Even people today, if they are honest, will eventually admit that there is more to life than just trying to make money and obtain possessions. Zacchaeus not only wanted to see Jesus, he wanted to know as well who Jesus was. He may not have fully understood what was going on in his heart, but Zacchaeus had a desperate need to get to Jesus. Zacchaeus had at least two problems that day. The first was that he was a short man, and the second was that his sins were keeping him from Jesus. He was short on integrity and tall on sin. Zacchaeus did not allow anything, not the crowd nor his condition, to stand between him and his desire to see Jesus.
What about you? Do you care enough about the condition of your soul to pay whatever price is necessary to be right with God? Are you willing to turn from that little pet sin? Are you ready to run to Him?
The Seeking Saviour: Jesus knew the spiritual state of Zacchaeus, and he was filled with compassion toward him. This is how it always happens. Jesus makes the first move by coming to the sinner and offering life through himself. We would never be able to come to Jesus unless he came to us first. This is the only instance in the four gospels where we read of Jesus inviting himself to someone’s home for a meal. Jesus must stay at his house because it pictures what his ministry is all about. He came to save sinners from their sins. He came to seek and to safe what was lost.
The Spectacular Salvation: After the meal and conversation with Jesus, Zacchaeus was fully sold out to Christ. Jesus had changed his heart and now he wanted to demonstrate that change through his restitution. Whenever Jesus meets someone, there is change. If you have never changed, it may be because you are not fully sold out to Jesus. Are you so deeply entrenched in the world that you cannot change course? Zacchaeus was locked into a way of life that was very hard to change and yet Jesus changed him. And he can do the same for you and for me.