Sunday Readings: Wisdom 11.22—12.2; 2 Thessalonians 1.11—2.2; Luke 19.1-10
Murmurers in the crowd said, “Jesus has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus spoke to Jesus. “I will give half my possessions, Lord, to the poor. If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Jesus replied, “Today salvation has come to this house for he, too, is a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek out and save the lost” ( Luke 19.1-10).
Jesus invites himself as a guest into Zacchaeus’s life, demonstrating his mission to reach out to all and enter our lives. In this act Jesus reaches out to befriend an outsider and a sinner. Jesus’ final statement in the gospel makes his mission clear: he comes to seek out and save the lost. Jesus draws the marginalized tax collector into the mystery of God’s unconditional love.
In response Zacchaeus pledges the almsgiving that marks a true Jew, a son of Abraham. He pledges half his possessions to people who are poor. He promises to repay anyone he has defrauded fourfold. He shares the love he has received, moving toward his neighbors, putting his wealth to work for the common good, acting for the well-being of the whole rather than his own. His actions show respect for the dignity of the poor and their rights to food, shelter, work.
For Luke, his actions demonstrate how Christians should use their wealth. In the gospels that end the Church year Luke invites us to evaluate with Jesus our place in the whole, to invest our gifts and wealth in the common good, and extend hospitality outside our usual circles. At every eucharist Jesus comes to our house. His gift of himself gathers us into a holy communion that we daily live out.
To whom outside your circle of friends do you reach out? How do you use your gifts for the common good?