Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time, November 16
May Jesus, Who Is Our Dearest and Most Intimate Friend and Brother, Fill Our Hearts with His Peace and Our Homes with His Loving Presence; and May God’s Gift of Salvation Fill Our Souls with a Serenity, the Likes of Which We Have Never Before Experienced.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house…’” – words which we find in today’s Gospel.
I would like to propose a certain scenario for each of us to think about. Suppose we were given the opportunity of sitting down with Jesus at our dinner table at home. I am sure that each one of us, after coming to our senses from the awesome wonder of such an event, would have some very specific questions we would like to ask Him. Suppose one of those questions would be, “Lord, what is Heaven like?”
I could imagine His answer might go something like this: “People live in such a broken world today, that their senses have become dulled to all the beauty which already surrounds them. In Heaven, where there is no brokenness, there is only love, harmony, joy and a unique and an indescribable oneness with their God.
“People will be amazed at the sights and the sounds and the smells, colors never before seen, music like no one has ever heard before. It would be like sitting next to the Grand Canyon and trying to take it all in – completely awestruck at its beauty. Only Heaven is infinitely more.”
It is this Destination, this Home, this ultimate of all gifts which God is offering to you and me today – a gift which neither of us deserves, but a gift which He still offers out of the Infinite Love which He has for each of us, His children.
And we hear Jesus say, “Today salvation has come to this house…”
In today’s Gospel, we read about Zacchaeus, a man despised and treated as an outcast by his own people, for his occupation was a tax collector. And since tax collectors were not paid a salary by the Roman Empire, they were expected to take a portion of what they collected in taxes as payment for their services, and many typically padded the Roman taxes in excess, and took more than their fair share.
And this is why they were treated by their own people as public sinners, as outcasts. But we hear, in our Gospel Reading today, our Lord saying, “Zacchaeus…today I must stay at your house.”
What the crowds of people could not know, what they were unable to discern, was what our Lord already knew – the heart of Zacchaeus, a man whose heart was open to God’s Merciful Love and forgiveness, a man who was more than willing to make amends for any sins he had committed in defrauding his own people.
And upon hearing the crowd grumble that Jesus was going to enter the house of a sinner, our Lord responded, “…the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
In this culture in which you and I live today, a culture saturated with all sorts of materialistic pleasures, many are sadly seduced into believing that the material things of this world can provide a real and enduring happiness.
I am sure that we can all admit that having a full belly of food and a bank account filled with cash, a nice home and a new car provide us with a certain sense of contentment, but it is not the sort of joy that provides lasting peace. It is not the sort of pleasure which feeds the soul.
If anything, materialism gives us a false sense of security, for it drains the soul of a true and lasting happiness – for it places God in the backseat of our lives. Materialism, and all its seductions, can sadly relegate God’s invitation to each one of us to a place of rejection and refusal.
When we reflect upon our First Reading today from the Second Book of Maccabees, Eleazar was a ninety-year-old man who refused to compromise his faith, a compromise which would have allowed him to add a couple more years to his life.
From those who respected him, they attempted to seduce him into pretending to abandon the Laws of the Covenant God established with His children, while not really doing so at all. It was the perfect out – he could continue to enjoy his old age, while keeping his hands clean of any formal violations of God’s law. Just pretend, for a few minutes! Who would know?!
Eleazar responded, “Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hands of the Almighty.” Eleazar knew that it was better to die while embracing his faith; for, in doing so, he would be, as Scripture says, “…leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.”
“Today salvation has come to this house…”
Eleazar and Zacchaeus – Eleazar, a man whose example in life and in death was one of heroic virtue and courage; Zacchaeus, a man who ended up becoming, with a little help from our Lord, an example of heroic virtue – both men whose hearts were opened to God’s invitation to be holy, to embrace eternal salvation.
May Jesus, who is our dearest and most intimate Friend and Brother, fill our hearts with His peace and our homes with His Loving Presence. And may God’s gift of salvation fill our souls with a serenity, the likes of which we have never before experienced!
And may each of us always sing out the praise which is rightfully His due. For, as our psalmist tells us today, the Lord will at all times sustain His faithful children in our life here on this side of the eternal:
“But you, O LORD, are my shield; my glory, you lift up my head! When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.’” (Luke 19:9-10)
- “[Eleazar declared], ‘If I dissemble to gain a brief moment of life, they would be led astray by me, while I would bring defilement and dishonor on my old age. Even if, for the time being, I avoid human punishment, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hand of the Almighty. Therefore, by bravely giving up life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.’” (2 Maccabees 6:25-28)
- “…the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” (Romans 8:26)
- “And it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 2:21)
- “For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: Seek me, that you may live.” (Amos 5:4)
- “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b)
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
- “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” (John 6:37-38)
- “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.” (Revelation 3:20)
- “But you, LORD, are a shield around me; my glory, you keep my head high. With my own voice I will call out to the LORD, and he will answer me from his holy mountain. I lie down and I fall asleep, [and] I will wake up, for the LORD sustains me.” (Psalm 3:4-6)
Prayer for the Day
“Eternal and Most Loving God,Salvation Prayer (author unknown)
I recognize that I have not truly lived
my life for You up until now.
I have been living for myself and I now realize that is wrong.
I need You in my life; I desire You in my life.
“I acknowledge the completed work
of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in giving His life
for me on the Cross at Calvary,
and I long to receive the forgiveness You have made
freely available to me through this sacrifice.
“Come into my life now, Lord.
Take up residence in my heart
and be my King, my Lord and my Savior.
“From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin,
or the desire to please myself,
but I will follow You all the days of my life.
Those days I now place in Your hands.
I ask this in Jesus’ Most Precious and Holy Name. Amen.”