In today's Gospel, we hear of Zacchaeus who is “short in stature” and climbs a tree to see Jesus. (See Luke 19:3.) Countless times I stood on a kneeler as a child to see a priest during Mass, so I feel Zacchaeus’ pain when he has to scramble up a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus. The thing is, Zacchaeus could’ve been at armpit height, hidden in the crowd, and Jesus still would’ve sought him out to save him.
Immediately the gossip begins and judgment rises higher than the tree Zacchaeus descended. The people in the crowd only see what they want to see: a short, sinful, tax collector. But did they ever dare invite him into their home, wash his feet as it was customary to do, and get to know him?
“Wash a person’s feet until you know why they walk the way they do.” I recently heard this and have accepted it as my mission for the year. Are we capable of doing this? Are we capable of welcoming into our homes someone with whom we don't agree or have judged in order to wash their feet time and time again until we know why they walk and live the way they do? Because this is what Jesus did for Zacchaeus, and this is what Jesus is asking us to do!
Everyone wants to be seen and known. Everyone is looking for Christ whether they know it or not. Zacchaeus is a reminder that Christ sees every person, regardless of our stature or sin. His goal remains the same yesterday, today, and forever: to mercifully wash every person's feet till they understand why they walk the way they do and set before them a new way of walking, as a disciple following Christ.
Learn more about foot washing in ancient times over here.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here.