Changing The Story

A reading for Monday, May 2, 2016: Luke 19:1-10.

What would you have done? What would I have done, if we had been in the crowd that day when Jesus called out to Zacchaeus, what would have been our reaction?

Zacchaeus was the enemy. He was a collaborator with the occupying army. Zacchaeus was rich as a tax collector be keeping a share of what he took from the citizens of the village. Even though we know all this, it seems distance and unreal. We don't live under an occupying army. Our tax system no longer works this way. Can we really hear this story?

What if we changed the images? Zacchaeus was a foreign fighter and prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. He was an immigrant that skipped his student visa in order to overstay illegally in the United States. Zacchaeus was a Wall Street banker who invented the sub-prime mortgage system in which millions of people lost their homes and their savings. Suddenly it gets easier to identify him as a sinner, and harder to embrace the story when Jesus calls out to him inviting a stay with such a person.

What would you do? What would I do, if we are in the crowd the day Jesus calls out to the one in our culture that is known as a sinner?

In the end there is repentance. In the end there is reconciliation and even justice, but notice that we can't get to the end without the part that makes us really uncomfortable... “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”


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