Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22; Psalm 15; Luke 19:1-10
In the First Reading, Jesus warns two churches. Jesus complains about the laxity of the Church in Sardis, as if it has lost its zeal for him. It seems like it has failed to guard what they have received, which is why Jesus calls them to repent. As to the Church in Laodicea, Jesus points out it is neither cold nor hot … I am about to spit you out of my mouth. The Church seems to be boasting of its material riches instead of spiritual riches. In both cases, Jesus is giving them a chance to repent before executing judgment on them. Jesus does not want to punish people, instead, repeatedly calls them to repentance.
We see this mercy of God in the Gospel today, where Jesus saw Zacchaeus climb the tree to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was no ordinary tax collector because he was a chief tax collector. He probably had a higher position than Matthew, who was a tax collector. Imagine the scorn Zacchaeus got because of his line of work. Yet, Jesus came to the place where Zacchaeus climbed and invited himself to the house of Zacchaeus. The words Jesus said is interesting: I must stay at your house today. The word must indicates it is something that must be done. This is the mercy of God. He wants to invite himself into our lives, but the question is, will we receive him into our lives or not. Jesus takes the first step and it is up to us to respond. This response is repentance, in the case of the church in Sardis, opening the door in the case of the church in Laodicea and in the case of Zacchaeus, receiving him to his house. In our case, it is to repent, to open the door to our hearts and to receive Jesus into our lives.
St Elizabeth was someone who opened the door to her heart and received Jesus to her short life. She was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary and was married when she was 14, and widowed at 20. She died at the age of 24. While she is known for her ministry to the poor and sick, this ministry came from her relationship with Christ. After her husband died, she refused to remarry. instead, she made vows similar to those of a nun which included celibacy. She lived a life of poverty until her death. Many have the mistaken idea that giving to the poor will immediately buy us heaven. But heaven is not for sale. We cannot buy it by our good works. St Elizabeth shows good works come from a life that is open to Jesus.
Lord, help me to repent of my sins and open the door to my heart. Let me receive you into my heart and through his, give me power to do what you want me to do. St Elizabeth, pray that I may devote my life to serving Jesus in whatever way he wants.