Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
November 15, 2022
Today in God’s Lavish Mercy, the author of Revelation says some pretty tough stuff in the name of God!
To the Church at Sardis:
You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
To the Church at Laodicea:
Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
As most of us know from experience, it’s never really easy to accept negative feedback. But, couched in gentle, encouraging tones, it can be accepted and acted on. John of Patmos, author of Revelation, missed that lesson in coaching techniques!
How effective his words were with the under-performing churches is a matter left to history. For us, they may perhaps inspire us to be more honest with ourselves regarding our vitality and ardor for the Gospel.
In our Gospel, Jesus takes a different approach to inspire repentance and commitment. His inclusive, forgiving words to Zaccheus proved very effective. Jesus doesn’t even address any shortcomings (not to make a pun) in Zaccheus.
He simply says, “Come down from your tree. I’m coming to your house for dinner.” In other words, I’m coming into your life — now what’s your response?
Zaccheus is radically changed by Jesus’s lavish mercy. He responds,
“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.”
Today, we pray to have a simple, trusting faith. Sometimes, like Zaccheus, we get ourselves “up a tree”, all twisted and stretching to find God – or maybe to ignore God – in our lives. And all the time, God has been walking straight down the path of our heart, smiling at our efforts, planning to stay with us tonight, tomorrow and forever.
Poetry: AND HAVE YOU ALSO WISHED – Leonard Nathan (1924 – 2007) an American poet, critic, and professor emeritus of rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Among other honors, he received the National Institute of Arts and Letters prize for poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Phelan Award for Narrative Poetry.
And have you also wished to leave the world
of unforgiving surface and hard time,
to enter mist and climb an autumn slope,
becoming all but invisible below
a gray and dripping baldachin of boughs
that lead to the little clearing in the woods
where much will be revealed, what love and dreams
had promised before you woke and had to leave?
And have you, even as you wished this all,
passionately wished it, nevertheless continued
in the old direction, stretching out
and out to dust, foregone and trampled flat,
because you were told to once or because—who knows—
you said you would, or something shallow as that?
Music: Zaccheus – Medical Mission Sisters: