Zacchaeus, hurry down! I want to stay with you today. (Luke 19:5)
The title of ‘Chief Tax Collector’ is one that does not occur anywhere else in existing Greek literature and this leaves us unsure of what Zachhaeus’ job was exactly. However, we do know that he was in a profession that was detested and socially ostracised and that he had defrauded others…..are there are echoes of how our society views bankers here?
When my brother, who lives overseas, travelled to the UK last year a guy sitting next to him on the plane asked what he did for a living. On hearing he was a banker he advised ‘Oh don’t admit that, tell people you’re in I.T.’
All those who saw Jesus going to Zachhaeus’ house complained that he was going to eat with a sinner. If Jesus visited our city next week and immediately headed off for lunch with a banker how would we react?
Just as in the gospels we see God reaching out to those who are poorest in society, in Jesus we also see God reaching out to those who are on the margins in other ways, including the rich.
Perhaps today each of us might spend a few moments in prayer for those in professions we distrust.
Perhaps we might ask God to give us the grace to love those we encounter today whose needs we may discount.
And perhaps, we might trust that whoever we are, whatever we’ve done, God is reaching out to us and asks to be welcomed afresh to our homes today.