Dear brothers and sisters, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
God is an All-knowing God
One of the attributes of God is Omniscience. God is an omniscient being. This means that God knows everything and sees everything; therefore, He is an all-knowing God. He knows what happens in the world and our life’s paths and journeys. The first reading from the revelation of St. John lends credence to this indubitable knowledge of God. Addressing the Churches, God made them understand that he knew them; he knew their life’s paths and spiritual journeys. God knew their day-to-day life and relationship with Him, their struggles and strength, and their sincerity in pursuing an honest relationship with Him. To the Church in Sardis, God says, “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” And to the Church in Laodicea, He says, “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
Messages to the Churches and Us
There were some expectations of God, of the Churches. Those expectations are what God wants the individual churches to realize or accomplish through their efforts. He wants the Church in Sardis to be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, and to remember how they heard and accepted the Word of God and to keep it and repent. God wants the Church in Laodicea to stop being lukewarm, indifferent, and apathetic to their faith. Lukewarmness can sometimes compromise one’s faith because of one’s unseriousness and lack of commitment.
The Laodicea Church was not true to herself. They had an exaggerated view of themselves which was far from reality. They thought they were rich and affluent and had no need of anything; instead, they were wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Thus, God wants them to look into the mirror and know their true nature. He wants them to turn to Him, acknowledge their wretchedness, humble themselves and buy refined gold from Him so that they might be rich.
We represent the churches, and the messages addressed to the churches are equally relevant to us today. God knows each and every one of us. He knows our daily spiritual struggles and efforts. Sometimes, He might chastise or reprove us for our sinfulness, but it is borne out of His love for us to be saved. His desire for us is to be earnest and repent. He always welcomes and grants us forgiveness. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter their house and dine with them, and they with me.”
Zacchaeus Opened His Door in His Desire to See Jesus Christ
The Gospel (Luke 19:1-10) presents the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a known chief tax collector and, by the Pharisee’s standards, a notorious sinner. He longed and desired to see who Jesus Christ was. However, the odds were stacked against him. He was also a short man and thus was physically disadvantaged. As a known chief tax collector, Zacchaeus was an unpopular figure.
Zacchaeus represented the oppressiveness of the Roman government, and he was also seen as unfairly extorting money from the people. He was, therefore, despised by the people and not welcomed in their midst. Thus, he was equally socially disadvantaged. But Zacchaeus was not deterred by these seeming limitations. He was willing to see Jesus as He passed through Jericho, satisfying his desire. He climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. This is the most unorthodox method or solution, taking into cognizance the status of Zacchaeus as a rich man. But again, that was a solution that merited his salvation.
Zacchaeus’ Efforts Acknowledged and Rewarded
Jesus acknowledged the efforts of Zacchaeus and spoke to him thus, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Zacchaeus initially desired to see Jesus, but his singular effort brought him more than he wanted. He not only saw Jesus, but he also dined with Him. The joy did not stop at dining with Jesus. The joy was complete because Jesus promised salvation to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”
We need to learn from the attitude of Zacchaeus not to be deterred by our inabilities, limitations, or shortcomings but to constantly seek ways of overcoming them. Similarly, our sins should not prohibit or prevent us from coming closer to God. We receive God’s mercy, love, and blessings when we come closer. Heaven is a reward of efforts, people say. Jesus crowned Zacchaeus’ efforts with glory. He needs our efforts to crown them with glory. When we make the resolution to follow Him and open the door of our hearts, He comes and dines and grants us His salvation.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!