Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was....
The comic book-movie genre amuses young people and the young-of-mind with outlandish superheroes who undertake epic adventures in bizarre cityscapes with predicable outcomes. Even the special effects are boring. (I sat through the most recent Starwars and was bored out of gourd.)
The gospels tell us about real people and their conclusions are not simply unexpected; they're also challenging to those alert enough to notice. As for instance, Zacchaeus, who is a wealthy man, short of stature. You're familiar with the story. And that's okay because Saint Luke doesn't intend to entertain the idle. He intends to interrupt our way of life with some disturbing, albeit good, news.
And that is, everything in our universe has been upended since the death and resurrection of Jesus. As W.B. Yeats said, "A terrible beauty is born."
Zacchaeus is a shining example, as brilliant as a stained-glass window on Easter Sunday morning, of the good news, "Wealth is nothing!"
If you think your life has meaning, weight or significance because of your wealth, you can forget about it. If your social standing is standing on money, your stature is very short indeed.
Our society, even more than that of Jesus, measures a person's worth by their money. The wealthy can fly "first class" or in their private jet; but don't point that out to them because they don't like to talk about class. That is déclassé.
The wealthy, oddly enough, use the same toothpaste as everyone else, and probably the same toothbrush, and pay the same price as everyone else. In other words, their expenses are the same as yours and mine, but they're standing on wealth -- which is like building a house in a sandy floodplain.
Zacchaeus sees in Jesus his reentry into standing with his fellow citizens of Jericho. Inviting the Lord to his house, he invites the crowd to follow, and there hands over the advantages he has scrupulously accumulated throughout his career.
"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,and if I have extorted anything from anyoneI shall repay it four times over."Jesus, delighted with this testimony, declares,
Today salvation has come to this housebecause this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seekand to save what was lost."Salvation is membership in the human community, it is equal standing with the Lord who has claimed a place as the least of all and servant of all. He shares that privilege with everyone willing to wash feet at the banquet table.