I came across an article a few weeks ago that proposed one way to understand generational divides in the Church in this way. It was a question of two values: identity and inclusion. For young people who are active in the Church, it is important to have “identity markers” to help them to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. For others, it is important to welcome the lost and broken into the Church and to include them. Today’s first reading and gospel show us how to do both.
It is interesting that today’s gospel story of Zacchaeus could be seen as a summary of the entire gospel. The mission of Jesus is quite interesting, as fundamentally he travels around helping the broken to know they are powerfully loved by God. Zacchaeus, despite his wealth, is one such broken person. While the gospel does not explicitly confirm that Zacchaeus cheated people, his position as a tax collector, his immediate statements about correcting fraud and extortion, and the reaction of the crowd seem to suggest Zacchaeus has not always been a man of good character. But the loving gaze of Jesus, and a surprising invitation make a big change in his life. Here how the gospel can be reduced to four movements or steps, and see how your life can change by embracing them.