This reading is the story of Zacchaeus meeting Jesus.  The reading tells us a number of things about the person Zacchaeus.  He was a tax collector and rich which also meant that he was not liked by most in the community.  He was a short person.  He was enterprising and fit because he climbed a sycamore tree so that he could see over the crowds to Jesus.  It is likely that Zacchaeus already knew something about Jesus – because he was in the crowds to see Jesus.  He is also the person Jesus speaks to in a crowd of people.  Zacchaeus also tells Jesus that he would change his ways – as a result of Jesus speaking personally to him.

How could we apply this story to us today?  There are still people in our community who are not liked because of their actions.  Think about people with Real Estate agents, Car Salespersons, and people who have threated or being violent to another person.  They are part of the community and take part in many of the activities within the community even though others may or may not feel comfortable to have them close by.

One of the messages from this reading is that it is not up to us to judge who God wants to work with and be part of his Kingdom.  God makes this decision not us.  Jesus spoke to many people that others would not have spoken to or associated with – the Samaritan Woman, Tax Collectors and people with leprosy.   These people can be healed and forgiven and change their ways as they come to believe in God.

Yet the question remains – how is that going to happen if other members of the community around them do not want to associate with them?

Shirley Bowers

Longford Uniting Church