God not only exists, God saves. God is coming out to meet man. The salvation initiative is always on His side. It is worth remembering this when we start to pray, go to Mass or even do something good for others. God is the creator of all this in us. It is up to us humans to do the rest, which is how we use these divine inspirations. In today’s Gospel we heard about Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus. A strange encounter. This altogether great sinner, but also a rich man, certainly known to the Jericho community, climbed the tree out of curiosity. You could say that in a sense he exposed himself to ridicule. He wanted to see Jesus because he had heard that He was someone special! An analogy to today’s reality. Many Christians know God only by hearsay. They know that He is merciful , but overall they have not experienced such a real encounter with Him in the sacraments. Do you know God personally? What can you say about His action in your life? Zacchaeus had courage. In him at that time there was still no faith. There was a desire in him – not even so much to meet as to see this well-known person. When he made that effort to climb the tree, it appeared that Jesus knew his name and wanted to meet him, to stay in his house. Jesus also knows your name, he knows who you are, what your life, your heart, your character is, what you live, what you can’t forgive yourself for, what you can’t forgive others for. He knows about the wrongs you have suffered and how you have harmed others. He wants to stop at your house to free you. God often walks past you, invites you into dialogue, wants to be present with you, that is, in your life. It is worth knowing this, it is worth being sensitive to such a passage of God.
You can meet the God who passes by you, for example in the Eucharist through the readings or the homily. After all, this is His word, addressed to each of us for our ‘here and now’.
It can become the answer to our problems, our fears. It can pull us out of the darkest valley and give us hope. Maybe… But is it? In the person of Zacchaeus, in his encounter with him, Jesus showed us that it is worth the effort, that it is worth responding to this divine invitation to dialogue and to be alert when God passes by, so that we do not waste the opportunity for an encounter that can change all our lives.