The sycamore tree is one of those low trees with long, hanging roots that look like ropes. That made it easy for him to climb the tree.

Zacchaeus is wealthy and a chief tax collector in Jericho, a city of wealthy people. The people dislike Zacchaeus because he works for the Roman rulers and often cheats the people from whom he collects taxes.

As Jesus walks by, he looks up and says, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.

Surprised, Zacchaeus hurries down and joyfully welcomes Jesus. Surprised, too, is the crowd. They grumble and complain, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

Thrilled and honored with Jesus’ presence, Zacchaeus says, “Lord, I will give half of everything I own to the poor and repay four times as much to everyone I have cheated.”

Jesus is pleased. Smiling at Zacchaeus, Jesus says, “Today salvation has come to this house…. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

At baptism, we were called and chosen by Jesus. Every day we meet Jesus in prayer, in the Scriptures, in the people we meet, in the kind words and actions of others, and in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. Jesus tells us that we, too, have chances for a fresh start. Even though we may sin, Jesus is always ready to forgive us if we are sorry. His love for each of us is personal, unique and freely given.

Salvation comes to us when we humbly, gratefully and joyfully accept Jesus’ love  – the source of our existence and life.