My first memory of the story of Zacchaeus came to me as a child. There is a cute children’s song about this scripture I used to sing when I attended bible school with some friends in the small town I lived in. The song resonated with me but as a child I did not fully understand the message behind the story.
Reading this scripture as an adult and as a cradle Catholic coming back to the church after over 20 years of absence, this reading speaks to me in an entirely new way.
In such a simple story several points jumped off the page. First, even though Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a sinner, he was purposely seeking Jesus. Even when an obstacle such as his short stature got in his way of seeing Christ he climbed high into a sycamore tree to see around the people. Jesus knew he was in the tree and called Zacchaeus by name, telling Zacchaeus that he must stay at his house. Zacchaeus then received Jesus with joy.
I liken my early Christian foundation to the scuttle Zacchaeus must have heard about Jesus on the street. We both knew enough about Christ to want a closer look, an opportunity to get a glimpse of him. I was seeking God but how could I overcome the obstacles of the secular world? I started praying, asking God to reveal who he was to me.
Two years ago God chose to answer my prayers as I expressed my confusion about my faith to an aunt. Concerned, she invited me to the Christ Our Life Conference in Des Moines. Searching for answers and for truth, I agreed to go.
The two days spent at the conference were mind blowing. All of the questions and confusion I was experiencing was being lifted. It was like God was removing the scales from my eyes so I could see him more clearly. He was revealing a greater purpose for my life. To trust, love, and follow him.
There I was, a sinner dangling, trying to get a glimpse of Jesus. I didn’t deserve it, yet God saw me there and was calling me by name. I cannot tell you how many joyful tears were shed that weekend. I knew then that Jesus would reside in my house/heart forever.
Following the conference I knew I was to return home to the Catholic Church. I began RCIA and the next year was received fully back into the church. I continue seeking Jesus through prayer and reading. Every week I get to have experiences with Christ through the Mass and the Sacraments of our beautiful church. I have also joined the Impact program in order to further hear Gods call to mission. I have never looked backed and my life and love of our Father grows continuously.
Jesus is calling every human soul by name. When we are seeking and we are open, we will be able to hear and respond to that call with joy; so he may stay in our house forever.