So, have you ever felt small, like insignificant, unimportant? Try this reflection on for "size:" The whole world before you, O Lord, is like a speck that tips the scales, and like a drop of morning dew that falls on the ground." (Wis. 11:22) Contrast this "little" revelation with Jesus’ reflection concerning "faith" the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain! Yes, God does notice the most insignificant or tiny. "For your immortal spirit is in all things." (Wis. 12:1)
So, Jesus notices Zacchaeus out on a limb and searching for more and says to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." (Lk 19,7) Once Jesus is under his roof, Zacchaeus responds with a commitment to give half his wealth to the poor and commits himself to fourfold restitution to any one whom he has cheated. Jesus responds "Today salvation has come to this house, because Zacchaeus, too, is a son of Abraham. Zacchaeus has been saved. We have all been approached with the question, "Have you been saved?" Have I? Do I understand with head, heart and feet? The fundamentalist contends that this phenomenon of "being saved" is based on experience -to be aware of, consciously and deliberately deciding to believe in Jesus in a moment of deep psychological awareness. It was an impactful moment in time.
In the Catholic understanding of "being saved" is it a life long process of dying to rising from ego to "others centered." Our being saved follows the pattern of Jesus’ relationship with Zacchaeus’ response. Jesus did not say what he did as regards salvation coming to his house until Zacchaeus responded to Jesus not only with trust in Him but enthusiasm, and generosity declaring half of what he owned would be given to the poor, and four times the payout to persons whom he had cheated. Salvation is not what it should be until we are able to rejoice in it with an act of conscious and deliberate response to Jesus Christ. If I really am conscious, daily, of the gift we received at baptism I am generous, seeking to extend this same gift to others in every way that I can. Amen.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.