Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Before We Are Aware
The Book of Revelation sought to comfort people persecuted for their faith. It used a style of writing, which predated 1st-century Christians. Its style of writing isn’t easily or readily appreciated now mostly because of its convention of portraying humans as animals and its intricate use of numbers. Animals and numbers are not its point, despite what people down through time thought, and some think today. The opening words constantly remind that Jesus is the point: the revelation of Jesus Christ. Not only does the final book of the bible reveal about Jesus; Jesus reveals himself!
As it opens, the risen Lord Jesus spoke to several church communities about their strengths and weaknesses. Those of the church of Laodicea are faulted for their lukewarm faith-relationship with Jesus. Jesus, however, is faithful and true to them. His desire to rekindle their relationship is cast in personal terms at a meal--always a sacred moment in ancient times:
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. Jesus, in our eucharistic celebration, nourishes us before we are aware!The gospel underscored Jesus’ desire. The familiar parable of Zacchaeus may be so familiar that we miss that Jesus was already doing what Zacchaeus desired: Zacchaeus was seeking to see who Jesus was. Jesus told the crowd that he, “the Son of Man, has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Appearances can deceive us but not Jesus. Being a tax-agent, and a chief tax-collector at that, suggested corruption. Yet Zacchaeus was an honest and generous man, which Jesus knew, calling him a descendant of Abraham.
Today--on Jesus’ lips it meant more than 24 hours; it meant God’s season fidelity--today Jesus beckons us to deepen our relationship with him, promising to do his part each moment. He is fulfilling his promise before we are aware.
Wiki-image of Jesus calling Zacchaeus is in the public domain.