Zacchaeus’s encounter with Jesus resonates deeply in our world where being at the “top” and the accumulation of wealth and prestige are given preference. Curious about Jesus, Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector despised by his fellow Jews, climbs to the top of the tree to see him better.
How often do we also “climb up” to “see” better? Not only do we often seek wealth, honor and prestige, but we also prop ourselves up by them. We justify this by saying that they are helpful tools to do good. Regardless, why do we “climb up,” if Jesus’ invitation is to “come down”?
Like Zacchaeus, Jesus calls us by name. To surrender our self-love and self-interest. To be in solidarity with others in the gritty reality of our world.
Will I give up my wealth, honor and pride to join Jesus in making our world more humane and just? How might Jesus be calling me, with my imperfections and limitations, to participate in his redeeming and liberating mission?
—Matt Ippel, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic in the Midwest Province studying philosophy at the Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in Lima, Peru.