"Zacchaeus came down quickly and received Jesus with joy" (Luke 19:4).
Saint Albert the Great
Today's feast of St. Albert the Great, a thirteenth-century scientist and philosopher, comes in timely fashion to affirm that reality itself is the starting point for our ideas and actions. Albert found the face of God in creation and truth in the objective study of reality. Anyone who tries to fashion an artificial view of the world to serve their own interests will always end up facing their own distortions and illogic.
Today's Gospel, the familiar story of tax collector Zacchaeus, illustrates this. By the time he encounters Jesus, Zacchaeus has alienated himself from his own community for money. His entire life is "up a tree," and his diminished status in the eyes of everyone is on full display. Zacchaeus longs to come home to himself and to a more sustainable reality.
Jesus invites him to that reinstatement in justice and love by calling him down from the tree and telling Zacchaeus that salvation was coming to his house that day. Overjoyed, Zacchaeus clears his troubled conscience and makes restitution for all his sins, letting go of the false wealth that has poisoned his life. He is again a true son of Abraham, reborn into reality and God's grace.
Conversion is always possible. We pray for it for ourselves and for one another. Coming home to God and to our trues selves is cause for great joy.