What Happens When Christ Dwells Within Us

Pentecost 24 Friday

Luke 19:8-10

And Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone, I will restore it fourfold.” Yet Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he too is Abraham’s son. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what is lost.””

Now, while the Lord dwells in his temple, it is no longer man who lives but Christ lives in him who has so permeated man’s heart and spirit by grace that he now goes wherever the Lord wishes him to go. For “you do not belong to yourselves,” St. Paul says, 1 Corinthians 6:19. We are drawn by the Spirit of God where he wants; we follow him willingly and gladly. Soon other fruits must follow from this; man is being changed and also begins to lead a different life, as Zacchaeus does here. He is a tax collector and usurer. Now that the Lord is his guest, he completely changes and is prepared to restore it all where he has defrauded a person; and he also gives half of his possessions to the poor.
For he thinks they are all his equals and Christ’s members. Before Christ came to him, he did the opposite: He took from
the poor, flayed and scraped wherever he could flay and scrape. But this is how quickly he was changed; now he
no longer asks for anything. The riches are no longer his treasure; Christ is. Now he uses his possessions without distinction, so that he might have plenty while also feeding and aiding the poor. He follows Psalm 62:10: “If you become rich, do not set your heart on it.” He uses his possessions as if he did not own them; for the Lord is his inheritance. If God takes them away, he praises God and sings him Job’s little song, “The Lord gives; the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1:21. Why does all this happen? Because salvation has come to this house; because he too his Abraham’s son. Scripture says that “Abraham believed in God and it was credited him as righteousness.” And by this faith, he obtained the promise from the Lord that he “would be a father of all believers,” Romans 4:3, 18. Therefore, as many as there are who are of the faith, they will be blessed with believing Abraham. For he does not speak of the birth according to the body or flesh, as Paul masterfully points out in his letter to the Romans…Thus, Zacchaeus was a true son of Abraham. For he received Christ in the temple of his heart, and Christ recognized him as one of his own and, thus, did not deceive him who believed in him. Indeed, Christ cannot deceive or trick anyone who clings to him. Therefore, blessed is he who hopes in him.

St. Louis ed., 11:2423-2424.

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