Roman tax collectors were not paid a salary so in order to make a living they had to extort money out of the people. They raised the official tax rate, they paid to Rome what was due to Cesar and kept the rest for themselves. Zacchaeus was not a popular man in town.
But Zacchaeus was not beyond being saved! Beneath all his greed, beneath all his sinfulness... Zacchaeus was open to the presence of God when God walked by!
While the Pharisees and town’s people had “written him off”...God had not! God came to his house! Think about that for just a minute...God sought out this sinner and offered him a new life...and Zacchaeus took it!
It is so easy to write people off...because of what they do or have done... the country they come from....how they look...the color of their skin... or who they love. There are all kinds of reasons we “write people off”...but God does not write people off!
There is always, always another chance with God. There is always another chance to come home, into the open loving arms of God. Welcomed back like the prodigal son or daughter!
This is a powerful Gospel about how God seeks us out, even when we are not at out best. Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house before Zacchaeus decided to turn his life around...Jesus took him as he was and decided to spend time with him “in the midst of his sinfulness”!
With God, all are welcomed, all are loved and forgiven, embraced and made whole by God’s love and mercy that is so freely poured out upon us, all we have to do is open up our hearts and accept it and allow its power to transform us into new creations, just like Zacchaeus was transformed in and through his encounter with Jesus.
Who have I “written off”...and why? What do I need to do to forgive them? When was the last time I climbed a tree to get a better look at God?