31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 30/10/2022 - Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
Zacchaeus is small in more than one way. He is small in stature and small in caring for others. He is small in moral dealing and his circle of friends is small. Small in stature is beyond his control because of his natural traits, but other things can be changed. He desires to make change, but doesn't know how. He turned to Jesus for change and Jesus satisfies his desires. Zacchaeus knew that the public criticised him for working for the Romans. It would be too much for him to be embarrassed in public, but his desire to see Jesus was strong. He decided to take the risk. As a chief tax collector, he knew what was going on around him. His men would report every single event within his jurisdiction, and the news about the movements of the man Jesus was a part of the daily report. Zacchaeus became Jesus' disciple by desire. Encountering Jesus confirmed what Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus, that His preaching was new and with authority; his love for the poor and the marginalized was paramount; his power to heal the sick was beyond explanation, and his mercy towards sinners was beyond expectation. Hearing these stories, Zacchaeus desired to see Jesus more and more, and the opportunity arose to see Jesus. He heard that Jesus was nearby, he ran ahead and climbed onto a tree to have a glimpse of Him. Jesus reached the spot and called him down. Jesus called him by name and Zacchaeus was surprised that Jesus knew his name. He was even more surprised when Jesus told him that he would stay at his place. He wholeheartedly welcomed Jesus with joy and that scandalized the crowds because Jesus was befriended by the sinner. To be on his side, Jesus told the crowd, 'this man is a son of Abraham'. He also taught the crowds about His mission, 'The Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost' Lk 19,10.

Before meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus was nervous because he had no control over the situation. This fear soon disappeared, instead of judging him, Jesus accepted him and that changed his heart, he became a new person. Apart from his short stature, all other shortcomings were being fulfilled. His heart changed and his generosity was beyond anyone could imagine. He announced in public that he would give half of his wealth to the poor; the remaining wealth he would use for restitution, fourfold over the amount, if he had cheated anyone. For many that were considered victims of mistreatment, being overtaxed, now came into a fortune, with a large sum of money from the restitution.

Zacchaeus' knowledge was great. He was not an ordinary tax collector but a chief taxman. This implies he had other men under him. Before meeting Jesus, his circle of friends was limited. His friendship was widened. His victims would soon change their minds after receiving the restitution. His new way of life connected him to others. He changed from having no love for the poor; he now loved them, from showing no compassion to others; he now was rich in mercy, from loving wealth and power to detach himself from them. He was free, poor in material wealth but rich in spiritual wealth. Meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus gained much more than he lost. Following Jesus, he probably left his post and its power, but he gained faith and love in Jesus. He gained salvation and eternal life. Having more friends and his heart was in a right place. Jesus came to him, and the obstruction from the crowd became things of the past.