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Jesus and Zacchaeus


This is the season of Lent, the time to get ready to celebrate the Mystery of Easter.  We are all on the way to Jerusalem.  Who will show us the way?  Jesus shows us the way. Once every year the people of God go up to Jerusalem, the holy city of God, to celebrate the feast of the Passover. To remember how God led them through the waters to freedom. 

This year Jesus was going through the city of Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Crowds of people wanted to see him. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector.  People didn’t like Zacchaeus.  He took too much of their money.  So he was very rich.  Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus too. But he was short.  And the people would not let him through.  So Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree.

When Jesus came by, he looked up and called him by name.  “Zacchaeus, come down I must stay with you today,” Zacchaeus was so happy, he couldn’t help but come right down. The people were angry.  “Why is Jesus staying with Zacchaeus? Zacchaeus has done bad things.  He’s a tax collector.  He takes money that isn’t his.” 

Then Zacchaeus said, “Jesus, I will give half of everything I have to the poor. And if I have taken money that doesn’t belong to me, I will give it back and four times more.” Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, today you are saved.  You are right with God and you are right with people.” And Jesus said to the crowd, “I, the special Son of God, have come to find and to save everyone who is lost.”  

I wonder if it was hard for Zacchaeus to give back what didn’t belong to him?