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OUR STRENGTH IN THE FACE OF PERSECUTION

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Apoc. 3:1-6, 14-22 & Lk. 19:1-10

In the Book of Revelation, Saint John conveys a message of warning to the seven great churches in Asia Minor. Few of them were living up to their high calling and some were failing miserably.

The church at Sardis looked to be prosperous and successful, filled with people who were busily involved in its activities. But it was spiritually dead because of the careless lives led by most members whose religion was all show and no substance. There was no forgiving love among them and no sacrificial love for the world. There were a few members who exemplified the love of Christ, but they were unable to sway the rest to follow their example of devoted faith.

We would like to think that a few good people can save a community from its own vices. But more often than not, the larger group of selfish and lazy people usually pull the good people down with them. Yet good people must not despair. They will receive the reward for their labours from the God who never forgets those who serve the true and the good.

The church at Laodicea had the problem of apathy. It was lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. It literally sickened the Lord! It had no strong commitments, was driven by no great cause, showed no drive to spread the Gospel, and probably 'went with the flow' wherever it went.

Zachaeus was a person looked upon with contempt, not only because he was a hated tax collector but also because he was small of stature. He was the kind of person of whom bullies would like to take advantage. But like him we are invited to change and move our lives in a more Christward direction.

His conversion was so radical that he returned the money he had fraudulently made and paid fourfold the amount he had obtained by cheating. It was the love of Jesus that compelled him to rid himself of the yoke of sin in which he had found himself trapped. He fully repented and pleased the Lord deeply.

Lord Jesus, like Zachaeus, we are all in need of repentance. May we follow his example and fully repent of all our sins, returning to Your love and hearing You say, “I must stay at your house today.”

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