In our first reading from the Book of Revelation, God tells the
people of Sardis; “I know the reputation you have of being
alive, when in fact you are dead! Wake up and strengthen what remains
before it dies.”
One can almost imagine that God is talking to today’s culture; the “culture of death” to which the late John Paul II so often referred. And the greatest cause of this death culture? It is in St. Jane de Chantal’s words: “Our greatest sin is the loss of the sense of sin.” This loss is so clearly seen in the affluence abused and squandered, the addictions to pornography and drugs, the breakup of families, the perversion of sex, the increase of suicides, and countless other tragedies resulting from sin.
In conclusion, God tells us: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears me calling and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.” Notice, it is God who takes the initiative. He keeps calling and waits for a response. He forces no one, but he requires that we open the door. He waits for us to show good will by making an effort to respond.
The same message comes through in the Gospel. We are told Zacchaeus climbed into a tree to get a look at the teacher. No matter how curious and confused this chief tax collector may have been, it was Jesus who initiated their bonding with his invitation. “Zacchaeus, come down quickly. Today I must stay at your house.” It is only when the tax collector descended and pledged to restore any ill-gotten gains along with his support for the poor that he hears Jesus say: “Today salvation has come to this house.”
And what message can we take from this encounter? Jesus tells us. “The Son of Man has come to search out and save what was lost.” He is our Savior but he expects us to accept the redemption he offers. If we would contribute even one-millionth of the effort that Jesus expended in his life, passion, death and resurrection, heaven would be guaranteed for each of us.
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