Salvation Has Come

zacchaeusAs camp counselors at Father Kane’s Camp in Lake Milton, we taught the campers a song about Zacchaeus: “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see. And as the Savior passed that way he looked up in the tree. And he said, ‘Zacchaeus, you come down! For I’m going to your house today.  For I’m going to your house today.'”
When I think about the story, I  picture a short man, unable to see above the crowds, climbing a tree in order to see Jesus. The focus of my  storytelling is often on the first part of the story, where Zacchaeus overcomes his height disadvantage and has an encounter with Jesus.
The real focus of the story, however, is the second part, where Jesus dines in Zacchaeus’ house and Zacchaeus promises to give half of his possessions to the poor, as well as refund those he defrauded four-fold. Encountering Jesus brings about conversion. Zacchaeus’ new found concern for others is a sign of encounter with Jesus who brings salvation.
Every day, Jesus continues to seek and to save us by coming to us and moving us beyond where we are. We respond to his presence through the everyday opportunities that present themselves- when we seek reconciliation with one who has hurt us, when we reach out to the stranger or alienated among us, when we overcome our fears and risk speaking out in the face of injustice. Then our joy arises from receiving Jesus and letting ourselves be transformed by him.