Dear brothers and sisters,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house,”
Here is a famous story that well illustrates for us the deep meaning of our Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection in Jerusalem. After having taught us last Sunday of how His mercy and justice is served only to the humble tax collector, we see today how this takes place in Zacchaeus’ life.
We see in this gospel story how Zacchaeus climbs up a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. This is because he is short and he needs to be elevated above the heads of the crowds and this elevation involves him climbing a tree.
The is also the element of the huge embarrassment for a grown man to be up on a tree. He would have been laughed and jeered at, even more so as a despised tax collector.
Our Lord notices Zacchaeus and his attempt to see Him and this greatly pleases Him, so much so that out of all the people in the crowd, He chooses to stay with Zacchaeus in his house.
His mercy and justice is shown to Zacchaeus who was willing to humble himself just so he could see Jesus. Notice that Zacchaeus’ act of humility involved a very embarrassing ascent on a tree.
Our Lord Jesus is determined to go to Jerusalem and there ascend the tree of the Cross so that, for our sakes, we who are too short to reach the mercy seat of the Father in heaven, may also enter into His house, His courts and there stay with Him.
In elevating Himself on the Cross in His nakedness and allowing Himself to be laughed and jeered at and there be killed, our Lord humiliated Himself for each and every human person He had ever created and will continue to create.
When He was taken down from the Cross, and was laid in the arms of His Blessed Mother, He was uniting Himself to every child of the first Eve and now giving us all the arms of the New Eve.
Now John and every beloved disciple of Jesus are given this new Mother and together with her Son, they enter our homes to stay, ““Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (John 19: 26-27).
When the Son and His Mother enter into our homes, they are entering into the deepest depths of our humanity, where we are most in need of His mercy and there they become the justice that we all owe to God.
When we experience within our hearts the humility with which the Lord descends from the heights of the tree of the Cross and into the darkest depths of our own hearts, we also experiences welling from within our hearts the joy that filled Zacchaeus.
Like Zacchaeus, we too overflow with generosity and charity towards our brothers and sisters and are willing to more than make up for all we owe to them because we already have residing in our hearts the very Person of our Lord Jesus Christ who has humbled Himself so that He may exalt us and raise us up with Him to the very Home of His Father. – Fr. Simi.