Readings 20141118

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What would you do if Jesus knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your home today”? Would you be excited or embarrassed? Jesus often “dropped-in” at unexpected times and he often visited the “uninvited” – the poor, the lame, and even public sinners like Zacchaeus, the tax collector! Tax collectors were despised and treated as outcasts, no doubt because they over-charged people and accumulated great wealth at the expense of others. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was much hated by all the people. Why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home? Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and forgiveness. In his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible. He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his goods to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for fraud. Zacchaeus’ testimony included more than words. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine.

Faith welcomes Christ in our heart and home Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) urges us to climb the sycamore tree like Zacchaeus that we might see Jesus and embrace his cross for our lives:

Zacchaeus climbed away from the crowd and saw Jesus without the crowd getting in his way. The crowd laughs at the lowly, to people walking the way of humility, who leave the wrongs they suffer in God’s hands and do not insist on getting back at their enemies. The crowd laughs at the lowly and says, ‘You helpless, miserable clod, you cannot even stick up for yourself and get back what is your own.’ The crowd gets in the way and prevents Jesus from being seen. The crowd boasts and crows when it is able to get back what it owns. It blocks the sight of the one who said as he hung on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing… He ignored the crowd that was getting in his way. He instead climbed a sycamore tree, a tree of ‘silly fruit.’ As the apostle says, ‘We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block indeed to the Jews, [now notice the sycamore] but folly to the Gentiles.’ Finally, the wise people of this world laugh at us about the cross of Christ and say, ‘“What sort of minds do you people have, who worship a crucified God?’ What sort of minds do we have? They are certainly not your kind of mind. ‘The wisdom of this world is folly with God.’ No, we do not have your kind of mind. You call our minds foolish. Say what you like, but for our part, let us climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus. The reason you cannot see Jesus is that you are ashamed to climb the sycamore tree.

Let Zacchaeus grasp the sycamore tree, and let the humble person climb the cross. That is little enough, merely to climb it. We must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but we must fix it on our foreheads, where the seat of shame is. Above where all our blushes show is the place we must firmly fix that for which we should never blush. As for you, I rather think you make fun of the sycamore, and yet that is what has enabled me to see Jesus. You make fun of the sycamore, because you are just a person, but ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than men.'[Sermon 174.3 .]

The Lord Jesus is always ready to make his home with each one of us. Do you make room for him in your heart and in every area of your life? “Lord Jesus, come and stay with me. Fill my life with your peace, my home with your presence, and my heart with your praise. Help me to show kindness, mercy, and goodness to all, even to those who cause me ill-will or harm.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

THE KNOCK OF LOVE  

“Here I stand, knocking at the door.” —Revelation 3:20  

Jesus is knocking on the door of your lives. Why not open the door? He wants to have supper with us (Rv 3:20). That doesn’t sound so bad. However, supper with Jesus isn’t all there is to Jesus entering our lives. Jesus comes to stay (see Lk 19:5), and He comes to be the Lord of every detail of our lives. When we open the door to Jesus, we are in effect saying: “It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me” (Gal 2:20, our transl.). If we open the door to Jesus, we must: deny our very selves, take up the cross each day, and follow Him (Lk 9:23), repent of being lukewarm in our love for Jesus (Rv 3:16), be hot for Jesus (Rv 3:15), give some, half (see Lk 19:8), or all of our belongings to the poor (Mt 19:21), make restitution to those we have defrauded (Lk 19:8), be a witness for Jesus (see Acts 1:8), suffer for and with Jesus (see Phil 1:29), and live and die for Jesus (see 2 Tm 2:11).

Why would we open the door to Jesus? We open ourselves to Him because He loves us so much that He died for us and because we love Him with all our hearts.  

Prayer: Jesus, compelled by love, I will no longer live for myself but for You (2 Cor 5:14-15). Promise: “Today salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to search out and save what was lost.” —Lk 19:9-10 Praise: “I [Paul] had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter was for the circumcised” (Gal 2:7).  

(Take another look at the topic of “love.” Order our tape on Love on audio AV 58-1 or video V-58.)   

Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014.  The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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