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Zacchaeus – Metropolitan of Strumica Naum

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How many are really ready to give up their vanity (love for glory), their false, vain-glory; and how many are willing to look miserable (poor in spirit, humble) or to be ridiculed for the sake of the Lord Christ, all for a possible meeting with Him?

The chief of the tax collectors, Zacchaeus, did just that and hoped for just that by running ahead and climbing the fig tree. This is the innocent attitude of a child.

But this does not go unnoticed and unanswered by the One Who sees everything and Who knows the hearts of all – the God-Man Christ, Who addresses Him by his name: When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19: 5)

Zacchaeus realises that what lies in his heart, that is, his name and persona with all the secret thoughts and desires, as well as the longing (seeking) to receive Him into his home, have been revealed.

So he made haste and came down – knowing full well through his justified and strengthened faith Who is the One that calls him and Whom he should receive in his house - and he received Him joyfully. And he rejoiced, as one can rejoice to everlasting grace.

And all [those who think highly of themselves and judge and condemn others out of envy], when they saw it, they complained, saying, “He has gone to be a Guest into the house of a sinner.” (Luke 19: 7)

But Zacchaeus, with his true and actual repentance, justified the presence of the God-Man Christ in his home – Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord: “Look Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I will restore it fourfold.” (Luke 19: 8)

Freeing oneself sufficiently from the passion of vanity and from the passion of covetousness, man usually frees himself sufficiently from the passion of love for pleasures, then the heart sufficiently purified from the passions opens itself gracefully.

Salvation is always connected with the opening of the heart – the home of our “self”, with the actualisation of the grace of Baptism and with the enlightenment of the mind, i.e. the prayer of the mind in the heart – even if in the last moments of our life.

This is how I understand the words of the Lord, with which He confirmed the new spiritual state of Zacchaeus – the enlightenment: Today salvation has come to this house … (Luke 19: 9)

Because the Son of Man came to seek and to save the sinners, and not – the “righteous”, i.e. sinners who want to be saved, not “saviours.”

Lord Jesus Christ, come into our home and save us!

Metropolitan of Strumica, Naum

  (13.02.2021 17:03)

Photo by: Fr. Gavril Galev


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