ZACCHAEUS…(Lk. 19:1-10)

The following is a schematic commentary, point by point on the wonderful conversion of Zacchaeus.  Read the Biblical passage and then use the commentary to help to fill in the gaps!

1.    Jerusalem. Jesus is heading towards Jerusalem where He will undergo His passion, suffering and death for our salvation. Principle and Foundation—know where we came from and where we are heading…

2.    JESUS- SAVIOR.  The primary purpose of the coming of Jesus was and is to save the world from sin and bring them to heaven.

3.    PUBLIC MINISTRY—Jesus carried out three basic activities: teaching/preaching, exorcisms, and miracles. Jesus preached whenever He could in all times and places where there was an occasion.

4.    OPEN HEARTS.  Jesus then as well as now is looking for open hearts. He stands at the door and knocks.


1.    JERICHO—A very rich city, one of the riches of Palestine for its Palm forests and fruit and exchange. For this reason the Romans/ Tax-collectors highly taxed those who entered and left Jericho.   Good Samaritan told in the context of Jericho.

2.    ZACH.  Had reached the top of his profession and according to some commentators was hated by many. Remember that St. Matthew was also a tax-collector.

3.    He was wealthy but he was not happy.  Truly money cannot buy us true happiness on earth.  His money could buy him pleasure and things but not true joy.  He as despised rejected, and hated by men, this brought him to seek for God.  Apparently he had heard of Jesus who had no prejudices. Jesus loved all especially sinners and tax-collectors; so Zach. Would try to meet Jesus. He had nothing to lose.

4.    DIFFICULTY IN SEEING JESUS FOR VARIOUS REASONS.  First of all, he was small of stature. Next he was despised by many.  If he got close to Jesus in the crowd then they would have taken the opportunity to pinch him, or nudge him, or elbow him, or kick him or knock him down—as a sign of revenge. In a word he would be bruised black and blue.

5.    CREATIVITY/INGENUITY.  He would climb a tree so that he could at least see what Jesus looked like. Imagine him shimmying up the tree, maybe slipping at first. Maybe he got a blister or two. Hanging from the limb might have been dangerous. Of course the people seeing him would make fun of him calling him crazy! He did not care. It was worth seeing Jesus!

6.    CONVERSION: CHANGE OF HEART BY HIS ACTIONS.  His failure was with money and taking advantage of people and most likely levying taxes that were too high, as was the custom of the Tax-collectors.  Look what he does and he confesses publically.  He would give half of his money to the poor! That is already extreme. But still more, if he defrauded anybody, he would repay four times as much.  This went way beyond the Levitical requirements!

7.    REPARATION.  A very important aspect of spirituality the call to repair or reparation. In justice when we do something wrong we should try to repair the damage. The following are examples:

a)    Confession—the priest gives us a penance. Often it is very small and maybe we should add to it.

b)    STEAL—you/ child should try to restore what was stolen. (Laura S. and the stolen cookie story)

c)      STORE—Give too much should return.

d)    Slander—Restore the person’s name you ruined.  Neri and chicken story. Unpluck the feathers and cast them to the wind and then gather them. Much easier to do then to restore the reputation destroyed!

e)    Husband hurt wife, should try to make up for it.

f)      Broken window by baseball, pay for the window before getting the ball back.

g)    Miss Mass on Sunday with family—go to a week-day Mass.

h)     Harsh word that hurts—try to repair by a kind word.

i)      BREAK IT—Buy a new one.

j)      Borrow book—restore it!


9.    VICTIM SOULS—those who willingly suffer for these reasons:  to console the wounded heart of Jesus—Fr. Mike Gaitley’s book, to repair for past sins, for the conversion of sinners. Examples: Padre Pio, Faustina, and the children of Fatima.

10. JESUS REJOICES!!! At the conversion of this sinner. He made an effort to see Jesus, climbed the tree and showed true signs of repentance by a desire to repair the damage.

11.HIS HOME.  Wanted to go to his home. Once again, Jesus wants to go to our home, our heart in Holy Communion!

12. COMMUNION OF REPARATION—one of the best ways to repair for sin is Mass and Holy Communion of Reparation.