November 17, 2020 – Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111720.cfm)
The Book of Revelation warned the Church of Laodicea of its “LUKEWARMNESS.” Laodicea, because it was a center for commerce and finance, and of medical discoveries at the time, became affluent. The Christians living in that City have been influenced greatly by the prevailing culture of the City. The prosperity that they experienced made them to “somehow feel independent from God.” In fact, there must be a feeling that because of their success they did not need God anymore.
This was how their hearts became lukewarm, passive and indifferent to God’s call of conversion. Relationship with God is a constant calling to grow, and that is to change and be transformed always. Yet, the people did not want to be challenged anymore. The people seemed to become comfortable with their way of life. Hence, the people’s hearts became “rich and affluent that they have no need of anything.” The lukewarm heart of the people led them to reject and ignore God. Their success and wealth became their “new gods.”
Consequently, the vision of John tells us that when our heart also turns lukewarm and indifferent, God shall spit us from His mouth. However, God does not want this to happen to us. The vision of John tells us that “those loved by God shall be reproved and chastised. We are called to be earnest and to repent.”
Moreover, the Gospel of Luke tells us about the best example of this, of a person who did not allow himself to stay indifferent and remain lukewarm. This person took the risk to leave behind what was comfortable for him including his bitter past in order to live his life with meaning and with real purpose.
This man was Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and a wealthy man. Being wealthy, Zacchaeus could have remained in his seat and not bother anymore to see and meet Jesus. However, he made concrete steps to meet the Lord. He committed himself to change and to repent.
As a Jew working with the Romans, Zacchaeus must have been despised by his fellow Jews because he represented their oppressors. Being a short man, he must have experienced bullying from his friends. His limitations must have been a subject of discrimination. Yet, he found ways to be on the side of the Romans, and became a trusted man to be promoted as a chief tax collector. Though he was despised by his fellow Jews, being a chief tax collector was his best way in taking revenge to those who maltreated him before. He had power at this time to oppress those who oppressed him. He had the chance now to bully them by making them pay high taxes.
Yet, deep within, Zacchaeus was restless. He was in search of something that will truly satisfy his longing for acceptance and for unconditional love. His wealth and influence could not satisfy that. Only God and he knew that. That is why, when Jesus was passing by, he did everything to meet the Lord and let Jesus find him. Though he was short, but he did not give up easily. Though it was crowded and people prevented him, yet, he moved to change his perspective. Until he found a tree to climb. That was how the Lord found him and thus, Zacchaeus also found acceptance and unconditional love from God.
As we face life today, do not allow our comforts to control us to become stagnant. Never allow our limitations and painful experiences to drown our hearts into anger and bitterness. Allow rather the Lord to challenge us today, to call us and to move us and to always choose Jesus in all our decisions and actions in life. Hinaut pa.