TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Revelation 3: 1-6, 14-22


“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars:


“I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.


And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:


“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”


Psalm 15: 2-5


Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt; who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.


Luke 19: 1-10


He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”


(NRSVCE)


Meditation


Yesterday’s reading from Revelation called the church at Ephesus to renew the love she once had. The people’s love had waned in their fight against heresy and they had lost focus. Today, the Lord speaks to two other communities who had also lost their original love of the Lord. Unlike Ephesus, though, the churches at Sardis and Laodicea had fallen into acedia, or spiritual sloth. Acedia is often described as apathy or “falling out of love” with God. In a human relationship, this would look like going through the motions but not really connecting with the beloved, taking the person and the relationship for granted without motivation to show real care. We understand that this is not acceptable in a human relationship, yet it is unfortunately quite common in people’s relationships with God.


Sloth might not seem so serious, because it is so passive and so pervasive, but it is a deadly sin, and one of the more troubling ones because of how insidious it is. In Revelation, the Lord describes those who are in sloth as “asleep” and “lukewarm.” He is unable to get the people’s attention or work with them at all, because they are complacent and just don’t care about anything beyond their own comfort. They do not seem to recognize the seriousness of their salvation, and the love that should go to God and neighbor has been directed toward riches and other self-satisfaction. So, though they might not be loudly rejecting God, people in this state are giving Him a “slow no” with their apathy.


To an extent, Jesus confronted this attitude in the Gospel today. If the people in the crowd had shared the Lord’s love for souls, or even properly feared hell, they would have rejoiced that Zacchaeus had encountered Jesus and repented. They might have examined their own hearts, asking themselves what was bringing them to Jesus and what they could do to change their lives too. Like those in yesterday’s Gospel who were discouraging the blind man from crying out to Jesus, the grumblers in the crowd might not have been in obvious sin, but their hearts were far from where the Lord’s heart was.


As we approach this Sunday’s Feast of Christ the King and the end of this liturgical year, let us take time to examine our hearts and repent of areas where our love for the Lord and for souls has grown lukewarm. Let us ask Jesus to reign in our hearts and to set them aflame with His love, so that we can strive for holiness more intently and work for the salvation of those who are lost.

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