Notice the determination of Zacchaeus in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. His view of Jesus was obstructed, but that didn’t stop him from seeing Jesus. He had an obstacle (the crowd) and a handicap (his short stature), but he refused to allow any of this to prevent him from reaching his goal of getting a clear view of Jesus.
In fact, Zacchaeus was so eager to experience Jesus that he did something drastic: He climbed a tree! Maybe he felt embarrassed hanging onto a tree limb; maybe onlookers thought he was odd. Maybe someone tried to talk him down. Maybe the tree was rough and tore his clothes and scratched his skin. None of that stopped him.
We all have handicaps — prejudices, misconceptions, bad training, spiritual laziness, fears and doubts, and so on — which obstruct our view of Jesus. And we all have short stature: we are much smaller than God and cannot see the goodness that he sees in and beyond our hardships. In our short-sightedness, we conclude that Jesus has abandoned us, and we feel so very alone.
Instead, we should be like Zacchaeus. In our desire to see Jesus fully, as he really is, we should do everything possible to find a way around all obstacles and overcome all spiritual handicaps.
Notice that once Zacchaeus climbed the tree, Jesus zeroed in on him and gave him personal attention and affirmation. How did Zacchaeus respond? He quicklydescended from the tree and welcomed Jesus with delight. He had so much enthusiasm that he wanted to quadruple the penance for his sins!
Do you see Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass? If Zacchaeus’ reaction to Christ’s presence isn’t our reaction, it means our view is still partly obstructed. We need to climb higher.