Being Lukewarm leads to death

November 15, 2022 – Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

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When a heart becomes “lukewarm,” it is neither moved nor affected in any way from what is happening around. A lukewarm-heart becomes indifferent, denying or incapable of understanding others and seeing others or worst no compassion towards others. It is equivalent to say that we have become “numbed and insensitive.” This leads to spiritual death and deaths to our relationships with people, disconnected with what surrounds us.

This is what John confronted in today’s first reading calling out the Christians in Sardis and Laodicea who were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. They seemed to have lost the spirit or denied perhaps the spirit of God among them because of the challenging and difficult circumstances. Moreover, another reason was the affluence they have experienced. The Christians became rich, comfortable and gained influence that they thought they have no need of anything not even God. This was a clear denial of God and made the self to be at the center.

This what made the first Christians in these cities to be lukewarm for they were neither anymore moved nor challenged by the Gospel and by the needs and sufferings of their neighbors. The SELF has become the most important. Comfort, material riches and influence intoxicated the self to the point that they have become detached.

Yet, John expressed his love for these people and did not want to lose them. Hence, John said, “For those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.” John called them again because he wanted to gather them and to let the Lord work more wonders with these people.

This is how we also witnessed the conversion of Zacchaeus in the Gospel. Zacchaeus who were unmoved by the difficulties of his fellow Jews over the high taxes imposed on them, finally found meaning in his life. Though Zacchaeus tried to look for Jesus, but little did he know that the Lord was first looking out for him. Jesus was in search for Zacchaeus because the Lord has a surprise for him.

We heard that as soon as Jesus saw Zacchaeus from a tree, Jesus called him by name and declared to bring blessings into the home of Zacchaeus. This encounter was not merely a meeting of the two, but it was the Lord’s way of letting Zacchaeus know his own pains and suffering, his own sins and failures, yet, the Lord remains all-embracing and forgiving. This moved Zacchaeus very much and found himself once again, loved and forgiven.

Such encounter also made Zacchaeus to come closer to the Lord that as a sign of his own conversion, he offered to repay those whom he extorted. The presence of Jesus in his house is God’s presence indwelling. Freedom and life has come to Zacchaeus and to his household.

The Lord also invites us today to allow him to confront us when we have become lukewarm, unmoved, unmotivated and unenthusiastic. Like Zacchaeus may we find forgiveness and the fullness of life in Jesus and in our true human relationships and not in our personal comforts, not in our affluence and not in our successes. Kabay pa.

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