Fr. Ricardo Chinchilla, CJM
The art of the encounter, according to Jesus.
First scene: characters on a quest. There is a rabbi who fills the streets with people and a curious little man, a thief as he suggests, the leader of the unclean in Jericho, a tax collector, rich to prove business is good, which meant: money, bribes, favors, theft, etc. One would say a hopeless case.
Second scene: the encounter and dialogue. Jesus passes by, looks up, and with tenderness calls his name: Zacchaeus, come down. He does not judge, condemn, or humiliate; between the tree and the road, an exchange of glances goes straight to Zacchaeus’ heart and reaches the best part (he said his name), the golden sliver that nothing can erase.
Then, surprising words, “I must stop at your house.” I must, Jesus says. God comes because he must, because of a need in his heart; a desire, an eagerness drives him: God is missing something; yes, Zacchaeus is missing, the last sheep is missing, I am missing.
The Gospel did not begin in the temple but in a house in Nazareth, and it starts again in another house in Jericho. It still begins again in homes, where we are ourselves, authentic, where the most important things happen: birth, death, and love.