An Invitation to Conversion

Luke 19: 1-10
Rv 3: 1-6. 14-22/ Ps 15: 2-5

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
(Revelation 3:20)

Lord Jesus, You have made us see
That none is beyond redemption,
Once chained to sin You set us free,
To help in others’ conversion.

Jesus entered Jericho, and was passing through on the way to Jerusalem. Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector was there, and wanted to see Him, but being of short stature, he could not because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore fig tree to see Jesus, since He was passing that way. When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed Him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to Jesus, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

Reflection

Similar to the blind man in yesterday’s Gospel, Zacchaeus also had a handicap (he was short) and he also desperately wanted to see. And like the former who shouted to attract Jesus, Zacchaeus also succeeded in catching the attention of Jesus, albeit unintentionally, by climbing a tree. One was a beggar, and the other a wealthy chief tax collector, but both were determined, and for their perseverance, both were transformed. There are other lessons that can also be seen in this story:

First, like Jesus, we must regard others not for what they are, but for what they can be. Jesus never treated anyone as a hopeless sinner beyond redemption. We must never allow bias or prejudice to influence our mission to bring others to Christ. Who is a good prospect to invite to our breakfast meetings or bible sessions? Are we afraid to get a negative response? Are we afraid that “he might not fit in with the group?” A true disciple never hesitates. He invites other men who are seeking Jesus.

Secondly, love and acceptance can change most people. In all His encounters, Jesus showed us that He was always open and caring. We may fail to make a Christian example by being too concerned about the superficial rather than the essential. Our Lord offered love and acceptance to the hated, squat Zacchaeus, and a great transformation happened. This was the experience of many secular Christians, business people who were once skeptical about joining “Charismatic fanatics”, until they were converted to a new life because “servants” in our community sacrificed quality time away from their children to hold Christian Life Programs for them.

Finally, our Lord shows us that our mission must be active, not passive. Jesus did not wait for people to come to him; He actively sought out the lost in order to save them. He did not wait for an invitation; He invited Himself in (“I must stay at your house today”). The Holy Spirit gives us insights into people so that we might be bold to help them. By His grace we are able to see a soul that needs salvation. That is why we can set aside social “niceties” to get into the essential purpose of the encounter.

Lord God, help us to be bold in proclaiming Your Good News of salvation to others. Take away our prejudices against their perceived sinfulness, so that more of our friends, associates and even enemies may come to know of Jesus’ love. Amen.

Comments are closed.