Zacchaeus was anxious to see what kind of a man Jesus was. A contrast with the blind man, who could not see, but was sure about what kind of a man Jesus was, so sure that he begins shouting out immediately.
But still, Zacchaeus has his good points, and they save him: he does not stand on his dignity: he is a senior tax collector, and a wealthy man, but he climbs a tree; he allows his heart to be touched immediately by the unexpected invitation of Jesus, and he hurries down and welcomes him joyfully. There is a simplicity and a directness of character that is saving here. He does not give up in the face of obvious derision: he is able to stand his ground. Best of all, he is very concrete in cooperating with grace: he promptly offers to give half his property to the poor, and to repay four times anyone he has cheated, so that he would probably have very little left in the end.
His example touches us and teaches us:
· Not to stand on our dignity
· To respond immediately to grace, to goodness, to inspiration
· To stand our ground in the face of unjust and unhelpful criticism and derision
· To be concrete in our cooperation with grace
And then there is Jesus. Jesus sees what others cannot see: he sees a fig that is ripe and ready to be plucked. He has the divine eye, his Father’s eye; and we are called to be like him, to have the eye of an educator and formator, to see what others cannot see. He has a divine heart, his Father’s heart, infinite in compassion; and so he goes beyond boundaries to embrace all the sons and daughters of his Father: he too is a son of Abraham, he too is a son of your Father who is in heaven, who makes his sun shine on good and bad alike, and his rain fall on evil and just alike.
And finally me: Jesus looks at me. He looks with compassion. He sees me with his divine eye, with the eyes of the Father. Am I ripe for plucking?