Hospitality was a way of life for Jesus. He extended the welcome of God to all without any discrimination. Come to me, Jesus said, “who are heavy laden Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). As it was in the case of ambitious Zacchaeus, a wealthy chief tax collector. He was on the fast-track to worldly success through quick-fix methods. The religious leaders of his day, rejected him as a moral outcast and excluded him from the religious life of the community. Jesus, on the other hand, saw him as a lost child of the covenant-keeping God, strayed from the path of meaningful existence. Zacchaeus would have been flabbergasted at Jesus’ self invitation to be his overnight guest. The bystanders were scandalised at the social recognition Jesus accorded him, a “tax-collector and sinner”, but Jesus chose “to seek and save what was lost,” contrary to His cynical detractors (Luke 19:10). Jesus reached out to him, making a transformation in the life of Zacchaeus that it was obvious He could change any humans He encountered. Jesus’ practice of eating with the “wrong” kinds of people sent a strong signal that He was against the prevailing social, religious status quo. Zacchaeus makes confession of his wayward life to the Saviour. He acknowledged his greed, extortion and promised to make restitution. The words of his confession were prompted by repentance in his heart. It’s amazing Zacchaeus’ life was transformed when he met his creator, redeemer. The presence of Jesus in personal, family life or work place brings visible change in behaviour which is seen in love, compassion for all. We cannot have separate tables for each race or caste group for practicing hospitality. We all eat the same food “in the presence of God” (Deut. 12:7). Having experienced the welcome, hospitality of God, we do the same for others!

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