Reflections

Tuesday of 33rd Week of the Year, November 17, 2020

—St Elizabeth of Hungary – Pray for Us!
I MUST STAY IN YOUR HOUSE
Introduction
John reprimands the Christians of Sardis and Laodicea that they have abandoned their earlier fervour and are in need of conversion. Note the harsh words to the Laodiceans who are neither cold nor hot but only lukewarm: “I will spit you out of my mouth.”
Today we meet Zacchaeus, the rich typical sinner as a tax collector, who is smalland poor as a person. These are impediments. But he runs to encounter Jesus and is converted through this encounter, however, it is really Jesus who takes the initiative by calling Zacchaeus out of the tree and asking whether he can stay in his house. This is the solution for the sinner, cold or lukewarm: accept to encounter the Lord again. This message is spoken to us too. Encountering Jesus will change us too.
 
Opening Prayer
God of mercy and compassion, you know how often our fervor cools off, how poor of heart we are at times when we think we are rich and sure to belong to you. Let us encounter your Son again in the deepest of ourselves, help us to look for him, that his presence may change us and that he may live among us. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: Revelations 3:1-6, 14-22
I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: “To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this: “‘The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. “‘The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels. “‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” “To the angel of the Church in Laodicea, write this: “‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. “‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne. “‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
 
Responsorial Psalm PS 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5
R. (Rev. 3: 21) I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue. R.
 
Who harms not his fellow man, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbour; By whom the reprobate is despised, while he honours those who fear the LORD. R.
 
Who lends not his money at usury and accepts no bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be disturbed. R.
 
Alleluia 1 John4:10B
R. Alleluia, alleluia. God loved us, and send his Son as expiation for our sins. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel Luke 19:1-10
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
 
Commentary
Today’s Revelation reading draws on the letter to the churches at Sardis and Laodicea. Conditions in Sardis are not at all positive. Its reputation for being alive in God is not accurate. In fact, it is quite dead. Thus, the call is to wake up and repent. This people does not know at what hour the Lord will come; therefore, alert­ness and sorrow for past sins is appropriate. In Laodicea, the picture is no brighter. The response there is simply lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. Affluence was Laodicea’s downfall. The people believed they had everything and lacked for nothing. They needed to be clothed in the Spirit, with their shameful nakedness covered.
If Christ is listened to, his voice heard and the door opened, Christ will enter and dine with his host. With the proper response, the person will be enthroned, sharing in the victory of Christ himself. And nothing should impede us from embracing salvation, from meeting Christ.
This last was the lot of Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel. Jesus recognizes his good will in climbing the sycamore and invites himself to dinner at the tax collector’s home. When Zacchaeus indicates his will to correct his life and share his wealth with the poor, he is told that salvation has come to his house.
 
Intercessions
That we may do all we can to see and find the Lord and to be close to him, we pray:
That our encounter with the Lord in prayer, in good people and in the poor we help, may change us, we pray:
That our eating from the Lord’s table in the Eucharist may deepen our love for Christ and for people, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father, your Son stands at the door and knocks to share with us our bread of poverty. May we open to him the doors of our hearts and welcome him eagerly. Let it be his bread and his mentality that nourish us, that we may overcome all evil through him who is our Lord for ever. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
God our Father, you have given us Jesus as our guest and at the same time our host who has given us himself to eat. He has found us; let him fill us to the brim with his life and his love, to make a new beginning with us. Help us to be to one another as hospitable as he has been to us and let him stay with us. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen!
 
Blessing
May we hear from the Lord too: salvation has come to this house, to this person, this community. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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