Bishop Basil (Nesterenko)


Glory to Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters!

I congratulate you with the Holy Sunday and with the Holy Communion.

We know that Our Savior Jesus Christ came into this world to find and save those things, which were lost. And the Lord gives us a chance in this life to make our own choice that we can accept this salvation. He appeals to every man. There are no people in this world whom God did not offer the salvation.

And today we have heard the Gospel (Luke XIX:1-10) about the coming of the Lord to Jericho and about the chief tax collector Zacchaeus. At that time he had already knew about Jesus Christ, the Teacher, and maybe he even had heard His sermons. And that chief tax collector had a great desire to see Jesus Christ, according to his behavior. Zacchaeus wanted to see Him and confess in his sins.

We know that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and nobody liked him because of this. Because people did not like tax collectors at that times. Even now people don’t like them, because they are unrighteous and use their position for their own profit.

But this huge burden pressed Zacchaeus very much. He couldn’t relax, because his soul begged for confession that God would be able to forgive him. And we see that this huge desire forced him to climb up the tree very high, because he was small in stature. This action allowed him to rise upon the people not only physically, but spiritually. And the Lord felt with His spiritual eyes that there was a man, who begged for salvation. And He said: “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”

Why did Jesus say that Zacchaeus was the son of Abraham? We can understand that after reading the epistle of Apostle Paul to the Galatians, where he said: “The one in faith is the son of the Abraham.” Jesus Christ felt so strong faith of Zacchaeus that He entered his home.

And all people grumbled at Jesus Christ: “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” They knew that they all were sinners, but they thought that Zacchaeus was the greatest sinner among all.

What a huge happiness was in the heart of Zacchaeus. He couldn’t even dream that the Teacher, the Savior would enter his home. And because of this joy he said: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” He was so spiritually inspired that he could give up all his wealth. According to the Gospel Zacchaeus had been serving to money before, but since that moment he had started to serve poor people. And that had spiritually changed him. His soul was so filled up with the Holy Spirit that he had entirely changed his life.

And we have to understand that we all are like Zacchaeus. We can regenerate in our life. God gives His blessing to everyone and we can appeal to Him for help and get the salvation, which Zacchaeus desired so much. And every soul opens to God sooner or later in confession and in love, which we feel. And we devote our life to this. We don’t devote our life completely, but some part of our life we devote to get the salvation.

And I wish all of us to have the same strong faith, which Zacchaeus had. Then God can tell us that we are the sons of Abraham. And I think that salvation will come into our home. Our home is our soul. I sincerely wish you all to reach it.

Let the Lord save you!

About the chief tax collector Zacchaeus