Sunday : 3rd November, 2019
Reference text: Luke 19:1-10
Luke 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
In prison, every person has a unique identification number imprinted on their uniform. Guards don’t need to remember a prisoners name, their individual number and cell number is enough. So whenever a prison guard makes effort to know these prisoners by their names, their attitude towards such a person is different.
But in the text for today, we see another way of de-personalisation. Not with the use of numbers, but with labels and preconceptions. Sometimes we label people and we judge them without even afford them the chance to be anything else other than the tags placed on them.The Pharisees, therefore, found issue because Jesus had gone to eat at the home of a ‘sinner’.
To them, before anything else, in Zacchaeus they saw a sinner undeserving of an audience with Jesus. That was the image which had been formed of him and everyone seemed to be running with that.
We may not have noticed, but there is a sequence in Saint Luke’s Gospel presentation. In 19:2, he writes ‘a man named Zacchaeus, who was a chief Tax collector and very wealthy. Thus, first he sees a person with a name before his position and social status. Jesus even goes further by referring to him the first time by his name and ignoring all the other descriptives except ‘he also belongs to the family of God’.
Beloved, everyone is worth more than the wrong they ever do.
Everyone is a person with a name – not a number, an illness, a position or social status. Each of us has a name, and that is what God knows and sees first.