May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts,
He was wealthy and powerful.
As long as he paid the Romans what they asked he could extort anything he wanted from those who came to pay their taxes.
It was no wonder that people hated him.
And he did all of this without fear because he was backed up by the Roman army, the most powerful force in the world.
It seemed to many that Zacchaeus was in the best of all positions, but obviously he didn’t feel that way.
Something was wrong, something was missing.
Maybe the tears of the poor he extorted had softened his heart.
If Zacchaeus had been satisfied with his life he wouldn’t have cared that Jesus was passing though his town and he would not have gone to extraordinary lengths to encounter him.
Zacchaeus was so desperate for a different life that he even humbled himself and climbed a tree just to get a glimpse of what that life might become.
Can you imagine a rich powerful man being forced to climb a tree?
Power, influence and especially wealth, Zacchaeus had all of these things but he was not happy.
The average American house has almost doubled in size since 1950s.
Those of us who are older remember how it was to have one bathroom.
No one would think of building a new house with one bathroom.
In 1960 2% of households had three cars or more cars in
In 2008 19% had three cars or more.
And even though we are in a difficult place financially at the moment,
we have more toys, and more gadgets,
w e have more bathrooms,
we have more activities,
we have more space to live in,
we have granite kitchen tops,
we have more vacations in more exotic places,
we have more and more and more and more,
and yet so many people struggle to be happy.
I would venture to say that both as a country,and as individuals many of us find ourselves in a situation just like Zacchaeus.
Many of us long for something different,
maybe it is a peace filled life, or a more secure life.
Maybe it is a life with more time especially with those we love.
Maybe it is a holier life.
What we have does not satisfy.
Just watch the adds on TV it is so clear that we are not happy as a nation…
You know many in the world look to us with envy and they dream of coming here just like many envied Zacchaeus.
The Gospel today dares us to dream of a better life.
The Gospel today encourages us all to look for something more like Zacchaeus.
He dared to hope for a better life and so must we.
To find that better life and to find salvation Zacchaeus had to be willing to overcome many obstacles.
He couldn’t get to the front of the crowd because everyone hated him and would not let him pass.
He couldn’t see Jesus because he was too short.
He did not let these obstacles get in the way
He climbed the tree.
If we want a different life,
a more peace filled life,
a more fulfilling life,
a holier life,
a happier life we have to be willing to overcome the obstacles which hold us back.
Maybe we have placed too much trust in material things.
Maybe we bought such a big house that it owns us rather the us owning it.
Maybe we just work too much at the expense of our relationships.
Maybe we hold on too tightly to our lives rather than being willing to give them to others.
Isn’t that what love is giving your life away.
Maybe we are afraid to get off the road we are on even though we know it is taking us to a place we are no longer sure we want to go.
Once Zacchaeus met Jesus he let go of his old life
Once Zacchaeus met Jesus he made amends.
He repaid everyone he defrauded.
Once Zacchaeus met Jesus he didn’t look back.
What do we have to let go of…
The answer will be different for all of us.
If we like Zacchaeus dare to dream of a different life.
..we must find a way to meet Jesus Christ, and when he sees us trying to find him he will say, “come down from that tree I’m going to stay in your house today.”