Can you imagine watching this scene play out? Everyone is excited because Jesus, this great rabbi and teacher, is coming to your town. Not wanting to be left out Zacchaeus joins the crowd but, being rather short in stature, he's unable to see over those in front of him and, being one of the most hated men in town, no one is willing to move aside so he can mover toward the front. So what does Zacchaeus do? He climbs a tree. How we would react at the sight of a grown man climbing a tree so he could see someone come down the street? How much must he have wanted to just see Jesus in order to risk such embarrassment? But Zacchaeus took that risk anyway, and he was rewarded by Jesus with the promise of salvation.
How often do we take such risks for our faith? Do we go "out on a limb" and publicly share our faith with others? Do we witness to our faith in our daily lives? The Gospels tell us that we are supposed to be in this world, but not of this world. Do we really live this? Are those around us able to tell, just by what we do, that we are Christians?
This should be our goal as Christians and Catholics. In everything we do, we should be thinking about whether our actions mark us as different. In the 90s, there was a popular saying, "What Would Jesus Do?" It could be found on bracelets, TV shirts and even was talked about in the media. Although the phrase has become a little cliche, it really is a good way to evaluate what we are doing. If we truly tried to act as Christ would in everything we did, no matter how much embarrassment it might cause us, the world would know that we were Christians just by looking at us.
So give that a try this week. Try to live out your faith in all that you do, not just on Sundays at Mass. Like Zacchaeus, go out on a limb for Christ and be willing to accept some embarrassment. You'll be amazed by the difference just a small change can make.