1.Wis 11:22-12:1
2.2Thess 1:11-2:2
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

                             " How much does it cost to be merciful?"

Just imagine when you die and Jesus comes to meet you and shows you a video of your entire life. On the video you see all the good things you did. However, there are also a number of blanks on the tape. You ask why there are such blanks on the tape of your life. Jesus responds to you that these were the times you trespassed against God and asked for His mercy. Thus when God forgives he completely blanks out sins and does not remember.

Getting into the personality of Zaccheaus according to the holy scriptures, he was a chief tax collector. During the time of Romans, Jewish people despised tax collectors; regarded them as traitors because they worked for Rome; they disliked them;  and didn't trust them. Therefore the people judged him as he is. The bad news is that the Romans didn't care how much the tax collector bled from the people because they only wanted their share. These tax collectors sometimes accepted under the table money( bribed money) just like some of our Bureau of Internal Revenue Personnel today.

Zaccheaus was rich to an extent that everything that he needed materially in life, surely he had them. He owned the five Ps, Pesa ( Money), Power, Pleasure, Pride and even Problems. No doubt, he is successful in his profession. He was rich but he was not happy. He is lonely because nobody would like to befriend him.

Let us learn something concerning the kind of attitude that God has for us.

God is Merciful. God is love, and the greatest sign of his love is precisely his mercy towards us. Jesus really knew that Zacchaeus was a sinner, but he also saw in his heart a true desire to repent. In this regard, Jesus was anxious to bring zacchaeus closer to his divine heart. With our faith experience how often have we felt Christ's warm embrace in our own lives?

Do not Judge. We should not judge the person merely by appearance. We just look at the face or posture of the person and then we immediately say; "He is good, he is bad, he is a robber," etc. even in movies who are those contra( against) life, those whose faces are not fitted for life etc, how about when those who seems to be against life will show up/ become life, what will happen? The crowd immediate reaction was to "grumble" They could not believe that Jesus would choose to stay with a sinner, when there were so many " holy" people in town.  Before their eyes Zacchaeus was a corrupt public official who was known for stealing  out  of the pockets of so many poor Jews who struggled to pay their taxes. Yet from within Jesus saw a potentiality of inner conversion in Zaccheaus since this was verified when he publicly declared that he would give half of his possession to the poor and he would pay back four times the amount if anyone had be defrauded. Only God knows what takes place in the hearts and minds of the people we know, thus we have to be careful in avoiding harsh judgments ( In the eyes of the people Zacchaeus is a contravida-( against life) but in the eyes of he is the vida ( life) since he changed for the better.

Concerning judging others there is the story told of a man called Bishop Potter, he was sailing for Europe on one of the great transatlantic ocean liners.  When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the receptionist desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship's safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person. The receptionist accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, 'It's all right, bishop, I' ll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason!'

We are called to be Merciful. Jesus has given us a clear example to follow. One of the hardest aspects of charity is that of our thoughts and judgments. Our natural tendency is to pass harsh judgment on the actions of those around us, but Jesus is asking us to see the heart, to see the desire that he has to save these particular souls through our charity, both internal and external. Zacchaeus was won over by Jesus' charity and mercy. Jesus as good shepherd in search for his lost sheep, looked for Zaccheaus and finally brought him back to the fold. Ask Jesus to show you which souls he wants you to bring back to his heart.

Seek Jesus. Zacchaeus had to make a conscious effort to climb that sycamore tree and he may even have exposed himself to ridicule. We too must actually seek out Jesus and not be afraid to be laughed at by those who do not think that seeking God is important. Our faith tells us that this is the way of wisdom and therefore the proverbial " last laugh" will be ours in the happiness of final union with our loving God.

In looking at our fellow brothers and sisters we should have Jesus' attitude like, i.e, people saw Zaccheaus as a sinner, but Jesus saw in him a lost soul, a faith seeker who was humble and sincere of heart. Do we look down on people? Do we judge them negatively? Do we give people a chance to grow and to change?( room for improvement) Do we grumble when someone is generous and forgiving? The bottom line is that God is generous and forgiving. Let us do the same.

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Chapisha Maoni