Nov. 15, 2016

The Zacchaeus moment: Home blessings in action

“Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today” (Lk.19:5-6)

I can’t imagine the excitement Zacchaeus had at hearing those words from Jesus. The reaction will be something like, “You mean you’re coming to my house?”. And he heard correctly, that’s what Jesus meant. Scripture says, “And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully” (Lk.19:6). Let’s look at it this way- You join in a rally in which Mr. President was to attend. You have nothing in mind other than be one of the attendees. You already feel excited that you would be attending the same event with Mr. President. On getting there, the president begins to shake hands with each person. He gets to you and holds you tight, refuses to let go off you. After some time, he picks special interest in you, and demands to pay you a personal visit. Mr. President wants to visit you in your house. What will you do? That’s what happened to Zacchaeus. He is hosting Jesus, the President of the universe. Why won't he be excited?

His case is interesting because of his personality; a very short man and a senior tax collector. Zacchaeus is a man dwarfed by sin who thought himself severely unworthy to encounter Jesus. Ironically, he is singled out by the Lord who tells him to hurry and make himself ready to be His host. What a joy! He makes an automatic revival. He gives up totally his old way of life. He makes double restitution. He resigns from sinning. He is overwhelmed that the Lord is visiting him despite himself. He stands his ground and says to the Lord, “Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount” (Lk.19:8-9). Isn’t that great? And the reward he gets in return is, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham”. This is home blessing in action. Jesus blesses Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus brings salvation right into his home. Jesus clears the pathway for Zacchaeus’ entrance into the great mansion in heaven.

In the book of Revelation we read, “I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev.3:20). Have you ever experienced the joy of hosting Jesus? Have you had a real experience of having Jesus in your life? I call it the “Zacchaeus moment”. The words are, “Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today”. Jesus is already standing at our door, but we have to be enthusiastic to host him. The home blessings make this offer available to God’s people when the priests take blessings to the homes of the faithful. It is not the priest visiting as an ordinary visitor. He comes in the capacity of Christ (alter Christus) whom he represents. The priest performs blessings as done by Christ for Zacchaeus. The priest announces salvation for the home he blesses, it is real. He draws down blessings from above for those who encounter Christ through his priestly presence. We can experience this joy if we open up ourselves to the promptings of the Holy Spirit like Zacchaeus.

Think about the Zacchaeus moment each time you have the opportunity to host a priest of God in your house. Think about the excitement which Zacchaeus had. Think about the blessings which the priest’s visit attracts to your home. Think about taking great steps to get close to God through such encounter. The Lord wants to be your guest. Are you willing to be his host? To host a priest is to host Jesus. To host Jesus is to experience eternal life. May the salvation of Christ reach you through home blessings. Amen.