Zacchaeus – Come Out Of That Tree!

zacchaeusJesus is calling all of us. But, what is he calling us to? We hear a lot today about taking care of the poor, homeless, sick and so on. That is a good thing and we rightly focus our attention of the less fortunate. However, in today’s gospel, Jesus calls out to a rich man with a great job.  Of course, the grumblers come out, complaining about who Jesus reaches out to. In the Didache, chapter 2:6, it says, “My child, do not be a grumbler, for grumbling leads to blasphemy. Do not be stubborn or evil-minded, for all this breeds blasphemy.” The Didache is a document written by the apostles and served as kind of a first catechism.

Jesus calls all to himself, this is his desire that all would be brought back into relationship with him. It is through that relationship that we live as adopted sons and daughters of God and have the promise of eternal life. The book of Wisdom, states, “And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?” We have all been called forth by God, called forth to live in right relationship with him, a calling that we are free to accept or reject.
We continue with the 2nd reading which starts, “We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith.” God calls us and God makes us worthy. In our acceptance of the calling, we allow God to work powerfully in us for every good purpose and every effort of faith.

The gospel shows Jesus calling Zacchaeus. He was a rich tax collector and probably did not deserve a chance but none the less he was called, he made an answer in faith and the faith moved him to action. He said to Jesus, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.

It’s an all too familiar story among Christians, the unlikely doing the unbelievable. For myself, I was a young man who neither knew nor respected God. I lived a very secular life, chasing the things of this world. Yet, God called me through many amazing events in my life. It was not fair that I should have these intensely personal encounters with the Holy Trinity and yet they are a fact. Like Zacheus, I was called out of my tree of secularism, a place where I could observe God without having to actually get involved. But, when God called me to come down from that tree and said he was coming to stay within me, my life could not stay the way it was. I had to put both feet in the wheelbarrow and let Jesus take me to where he wanted me to go. Over time that finally moved me to be here in the diaconate where I am hopefully being made worthy of the calling. May I be an instrument that God will use powerfully for his good purposes.

Is God calling you down from the safety of the tree? Is he coming to your house? The answer to both of those is, yes. Answer the call my brothers and sisters.


About Robert Lindberg

I am a convert to Catholicism and that has been the best thing ever in my life. I am currently in formation for the Diaconate in the Diocese of Austin. I have been married for 28 years to my wife Linda. I have 6 children and 2 grandchildren. I believe that we are all on a journey of discipleship. Some of us move slower than others. All that matters is that you are moving in the right direction. You can contact me at:

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