I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: ‘Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, “Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. Wake up; revive what little you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in the way you live that my God could possibly call perfect, and yet do you remember how eager you were. when you first heard the message? Hold on to that. Repent. If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, without telling you at what hour to expect me. There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes from being dirtied, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white. Those who prove victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
‘Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, “Here is the message of the Amen, the faithful, the true witness, the ultimate source of God’s creation: I know all about you: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say to yourself, ‘I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want’, never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see. I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”’
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’
He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house
For some reason, I seldom accept visitors at home. We are all busy and we cannot keep the house ‘visitor-friendly’. It has come to a point where there are no questions asked if I reject a request to be a host. It is as if people have already accepted that they cannot come to our place so easily.
But what if our visitor was not just a friend or a relative? What if it was Jesus who came knocking at our door? Honestly, I will be hesitant. It will be like saying, “Lord, I am unworthy that You should enter under my roof…”
In our Gospel, the chief tax collector named Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus among the crowd. However, he was too short, so he climbed a sycamore tree. When Jesus arrived at the place, He said, “Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus was very happy to welcome Jesus to his home. The crowd was very judgmental that Jesus chose to stay at a sinner’s house. But Zacchaeus went on his feet and told Jesus, “Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.”
The attitude of Zacchaeus is admirable. He must have a deep desire to be intimate with the Lord. He welcomes Jesus joyfully. He is generous enough to give half his wealth and repay those he has wronged four times. I would say that though he has been branded as a sinner, he wants forgiveness for his sins. Can we imitate what Zacchaeus did? We must, even though it will not be very easy. Like Zacchaeus, we have our own sycamore tree to climb just to see Jesus. And a sycamore tree is a large tree. There will be people who will ridicule and judge us. But we must stand our ground and not falter. And if we really want to be closer to Jesus, we must give the best of us.
Going back to my own personal acceptance of Jesus in my home, I should not hesitate to welcome Jesus in my house. Whatever condition I am in, I must always be happy and joyfully accept Him. Christ has given the best of Him for us. He gave His life to save us from our sins. It is just proper to give my all for Him.
There may also be others who will be hesitant to accept Jesus because of their unworthiness. This is where reconciliation comes in. We repent and seek forgiveness for our sins. Some may argue why the need for confession when we sin all over again. It is our way of cleansing our soul. Similar to our house or anything we own, we clean it again and again even though we know it will get dirty again and again. We try to keep our soul clean as it is a very great offering to Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, are we ready to accept Jesus in our home?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer: Father God, please grant us the grace to increase our faith. Help us to grow a deeper relationship with You.
Thanksgiving: Lord, we thank You for forgiving us our sins. Thank you for giving us the chance to encounter Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.