November 18, 2014

Nov. 18

November 18, 2014:  Tuesday, 33rd week, Ordinary Time

  • White shirt:  The victor will be dressed in white (1st reading)
  • Wedding ring containing gold (not shown), Gold-colored tie pin:  buy refined gold (1st reading)
  • 'Door' and 'house' tie: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." (1st reading) "I must stay at your house" (gospel)

Pope Francis
Homily:  Conversion is a grace, a visit from God.  The Lord asks the lukewarm Laodiceans to convert.  They live a "comfortable spirituality," thinking, "I'm fine; I don't want to be disturbed."  Feeling spiritually comfortable is a state of sin; the Lord tells them to "dress themselves" because comfortable Christians are naked.
The Lord also calls to conversion those who live by appearances, dead though thinking themselves alive; appearances are their shroud.  "Am I a Christian of appearances?  Do I listen to the Spirit?"  Seek and reinvigorate life within and move forward.  Convert from appearances to reality, from lukewarmness to fervor.
Zacchaeus was corrupt, working for foreigners and betraying his homeland, exploiting instead of serving the people; there are some like him now.  He was putrefied but felt something, wanting to see the healer, the prophet.  The Spirit sowed the seed of curiosity, and so in order to see him, that leader of leaders took the ridiculous step of climbing a tree!  He had no shame.  Once God's Word came into him, he converted, promising to give back four times what he stole.  Conversion touching pockets is real; there are fewer Christians with pockets than Christians in heart or by blood.  Faced with this, those who didn't want to convert grumbled.
Jesus called to conversion the lukewarm, the comfortable, those of appearance, the poor who think they're rich, the dead who think they're alive, and the corrupt.  God's Word can change everyone, but we don't always have the courage to believe and receive it.  Think seriously about our conversion, so that we can move forward.  Remember God's Word, be vigilant, and obey it, and begin a new life.
    'Sycamore' word cloud
  • Rv 3:1-6, 14-22  To Sardis Church:  “You're dead.  Remember how you accepted and heard; repent.”  To Laodicea Church:  “You're neither cold nor hot.  Because you're lukewarm, I'll spit you out.  You say, ‘I don't need anything’ but don't realize you're wretched...  Those I love, I reprove.  Repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If you hear me and open up, I'll enter your house and dine with you.  Hear what the Spirit is saying.”
  • Ps 15:2-4ab, 5  "I will seat the victor beside me on my throne."  Those who do justice, think the truth, and don't slander, do harm, or accept bribes will never be disturbed.
  • Lk 19:1-10  Jesus / wealthy Zacchaeus on sycamore:  “Hurry down; I must stay at your house.”  He hurried down and received him with joy.  Others grumbled:  “He's going to a sinner's house.”  Zacchaeus / Jesus:  “Lord, I'll give the poor half my possessions and repay people fourfold.” / “Today salvation has come to this house.  The Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.”
Sycamore tree
    • One Bread One Body:  If we open the door to Jesus, we must deny ourselves, repent, give to the poor, be wholehearted, witness, suffer, live, and die for him.
    • Passionist:  Zacchaeus's public action (tree climbing) indicates he wants to see Jesus, but his response to Jesus goes further, showing his repentance.  Jesus wants to make his home in us; let us welcome him and let him dwell and act in us.
    •  People hated tax collectors like Zacchaeus and treated them as outcasts, but he showed the depth of his repentance.  Zacchaeus' change of heart resulted in a change of life.  "Zacchaeus climbed away from the crowd and saw Jesus without the crowd getting in his way.  The crowd laughs at the lowly:  'You helpless, miserable clod....'  They prevent Jesus from being seen.  But he climbed a sycamore tree, tree of 'silly fruit.'  We preach Christ crucified, 'folly' to the Gentiles.'  The wise of this world laugh at us about the Cross:  'What sort of minds do you have, who worship a crucified God?'  Not your kind! Climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus.  Let Zacchaeus grasp the tree, and let the humble climb the cross....' [Augustine, Sermon 174.3, paraphrased]  Do I make room for Jesus in every area of my life?
    • Universalis:  Dedication of the Basilicas of SS. Peter and Paul.  St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, religious, started school for Indian girls at 72; see Wikipedia.

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