Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
“And [Zacchaeus] came down quickly and received him with joy.”
Zaccheus is one of the most lovable figures in the Gospels because he reminds us that sometimes the people you least expect make the greatest candidates for friendship with the Lord.
Anybody who has ever felt like an outcast before can probably understand what Zacchaeus is going through the day that Jesus walks through his town. He was a public figure, and one who would have been an enemy to most of his neighbors. Not only was Zacchaeus a tax collector, but he was one of the head honchos. The tax collectors were government sanctioned con-artists of the 1st century; not only were the Jewish people oppressed by their Roman conquerors, but by collecting taxes the Romans were getting paid to do it from the very people they were oppressing. They enlisted locals like Zacchaeus to be in charge of collecting the taxes, which made them as good as betrayers to their peers. It’s safe to say that Zacchaeus would have been one of the most hated people in his town. And yet when Jesus is passing through his town, Zacchaeus goes out to see him. After all, Jesus was known to welcome sinners, lepers, and outcasts like him.
I’ve been like Zacchaeus before. I’ve felt like a stranger and an alien both within my own social circles, but also in my relationship with God. Every time I sin I separate myself from God again and again, choosing for myself exile, becoming my own worst enemy. Jesus sees my anguish, but he also looks with loving eyes full of mercy. He sees all the things I’ve done, but that doesn’t stop Jesus from loving me or offering me the peace that only comes from God.
When Jesus calls Zacchaeus he leaps into action immediately and welcomes Jesus joyfully into his life. He doesn’t say, “O Jesus, you must not know the things I’ve done and the ways I’ve cheated people, or you never would have called to me.” He lets Jesus forgive him, he lets Jesus love him. And he does it right away, without delay. He comes down from his tree where he was hiding quickly and receives Jesus with joy, turning his life around.
When Jesus calls to you, how do you respond? Do you let your sins, your past, your brokenness drag you down, or do you trust in Jesus and his mercy and immediately welcome him into your home - into your life - with joy? If Jesus can do it for Zacchaeus, he’ll do it for us too.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How do I feel like an outcast in my life?
How am I letting my sin get in the way of welcoming Jesus into my life?
Where do I see God's mercy in my life, even in the midst of my sin?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Have mercy on me, Lord."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Let me see myself as you see me."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Be like Zacchaeus today- welcome the Lord in quickly and with joy. Find a time today to pray and ask God to give you the joyful and welcoming spirit of Zacchaeus in your heart; let God love you, even in your sinfulness.
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"Today's Prayer was prepared by Chris O'Hara, an evangelist in Canada.
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