Because the whole world before thee is like a speck that tips the scales,
and like a drop of morning dew that falls upon the ground.
But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things,
and thou dost overlook men’s sins, that they may repent.
For thou lovest all things that exist,
and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made,
for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it.
How would anything have endured if thou hadst not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by thee have been preserved?
Thou sparest all things, for they are thine, O Lord who lovest the living.
For thy immortal spirit is in all things.
Therefore thou dost correct little by little those who trespass,
and dost remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin,
that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in thee, O Lord.
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
I will extol thee, my God and King,
and bless thy name for ever and ever.
Every day I will bless thee,
and praise thy name for ever and ever.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All thy works shall give thanks to thee, O Lord,
and all thy saints shall bless thee!
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom,
and tell of thy power,
Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and thy dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfill every good resolve and work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Zacchaeus is seen in two different ways in the Gospel. There were the people who saw him as a sinner. Then there was Jesus who saw him as a seeker.
In terms of evangelization, Zacchaeus is right where we want him. He has heard about Jesus and is curious about him. He goes out of his way to see him and Jesus takes the opportunity to meet him there. He opens himself up to Zacchaeus, making him his guest and Zacchaeus recognizes the honor. He feels special. His emotional cup is filled and he is able to return and restore all that he has defrauded to others.
Drawing near to Jesus was rewarded in a way that Zacchaeus had not expected. Contrary to our fears about God, his love and mercy and desire for our salvation is greater than his judgment or anger or wrath against any of our wrongdoing. The Wisdom reading describes this well: “Thou sparest all things, for they are thine, O Lord who lovest the living. For thy immortal spirit is in all things. Therefore thou dost correct little by little those who trespass, and dost remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin, that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in thee.”
Being in the presence of Jesus as a guest in his house gave Zacchaeus the conviction of his sin. It did not fill him with shame but with conviction that he could right his wrongs and do good.
Today, welcome Jesus into your home and your heart so that any repentance need becomes a joy and not a shame. And pray for grace for the unconverted to be curious about Jesus and for the desire to seek him. We know that Jesus will meet them where they are with his love and mercy.