Embracing the Divine Goodness

Pentecost 24 Sunday

Luke 19:1-6

“And Christ entered and passed through Jericho. And look, there was a man called Zacchaeus who was the chief tax collector and was very rich. And he desired to see Jesus, who he was, and was not able to do it due to the people; for he was a very short person. And he ran ahead an d climbed on a sycamore fig tree in order to see him; for he was to pass through there. And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and saw him and said to him: “Zacchaeus, climb down quickly; for I must enter your house today.” And he climbed down quickly and received him with joy.”

In this gospel we are, once again, presented, as in a mirror, with the divine goodness, namely, that he must see, receive, and comfort all those who are saddened in the spirit and seek him. And the more despised they are before the people, the more pleasing they are in God’s eyes. For the name “tax collector” was an infamous and despised name among the Jews. Accordingly, this Zacchaeus, the preeminent and chief among the tax collectors, was the most despised. Moreover, he was also rich who justly should have lost the kingdom of God, according to what Christ said in Luke 18:25: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” For the rich commonly entangle themselves in their love and delight of riches to the point of being unable to seek Christ. For all their comfort consists in their money and possessions: The more of it they get, the more of it they want. Yet when their fortunes turn, they begin to cry and lament that all the world knows about it. They blame evil people; they neither know nor understand that this is from God. Christ has no fellowship with such rich people. They do not ask for him; he, in turn, does not ask for them; they do not seek him; he lets them go. This is why this account of Zacchaeus is recounted as a miracle: He was rich but still desired to see Christ. We learn clearly from the gospel what kind of a man he was and
how rich he was. Would to God that our rich people were like him; they doubtlessly would also see Christ. This is why we first want to look at this Zacchaeus to see what he thought about himself and Christ.

St. Louis ed., 11:2414-2416.

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