Ever since I was a little girl, Zacchaeus has been one of my favorite people that Jesus encounters in the Gospels. As a kid, Zacchaeus was such a relatable character, given that he was “short in stature.” I remember being a kid in the pews ducking around the taller grown-ups around me or asking my mom to pick me up, so I could see better. Zacchaeus seeking to see Jesus and having to climb a tree because he was so short stuck with me, because it felt like my own little kid experience.

Now I’m older and taller, and, although not the tallest person in the room, I still resonate with Zacchaeus. Now it’s not his height that is so relatable, but his desire to see Jesus, the one who brings him salvation. Zacchaeus recognizes his own shortcomings and feels that ache in his heart that only God can fill. He goes to seek Jesus out, even when others block him from his vision.

When I think of Zacchaeus going to see Jesus, I like to think he got there early, tried to beat the crowd, but slowly was pushed out of the way by those who were bigger than he was, leaving him to climb a sycamore tree in hopes of seeing Jesus. 

There are times in my life when I feel like I see Jesus clearly. I see His fingerprints on my days, in the big and small moments, on the people I encounter, in the work that I do. Sometimes though, it feels harder to see him. When I’m doing my best to pursue holiness, I feel like Zacchaeus who got there early with a clear view of who I know I’m seeking. When I grow complacent though, things try to block my view of Jesus. Negativity, selfishness, sloth, and other sins sneak in and suddenly my path to Jesus, which was so clear, seems crowded and obstructed.

Unlike Zacchaeus though, I don’t need to climb a tree.  Jesus came and died on a tree. so that He could bring me to new life. I don’t climb a tree. I cling to the cross of Christ—my tree of life—which brings me healing and wholeness and removes those sins that threaten to hide Christ from my vision. Jesus died and rose so that we may see him, love him, and serve him. 

When I cling to that tree, I am strengthened. Christ gives me the grace to go out and answer the calling He has given me.  As St. Paul says, “God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose.”

So friends, I would encourage you; cling to the Tree of Life, cling to Jesus, and live a life worthy of His calling.




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