Wisdom 11:22–12:2; Ps 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2; Luke 19:1-10
Jesus, we pray frequently your Chaplet of Divine Mercy asking that it be poured out on our country, all terrorists, those who have died and refugees. Give us your wisdom in our upcoming election to elect the right people. We want to take your next right step and be a sign of hope for others.
Dear Holy Spirit, help us to see, understand and receive more of God’s love. Throughout the gospel stories about Jesus, we see God’s love falling on countless people in so many ways. I am thinking of the song, “Mercy is falling, like a sweet spring rain.” Have you felt the warmth of a gentle spring rain? Isn’t there a great sweetness to that rain as it touches our face? God’s love is like that, inviting us to be “kissed” by the beauty of his love for us.
There is a longing placed in all of us at our conception. A longing for God’s perfect love. We don’t find it completely here on earth yet are called to follow “love’s urgent longing,” as St. John of the Cross called it. God loves all of his children on earth. The Father sent his Son to earth to show us in person how he loves us all. He calls us to conversion from the attractive things of this world that often hold us bound to them. Sin is holding onto persons and things of this world that keep us from more fully grasping the often quiet, gentle calling of God’s love. He calls us to step aside from those things, so we can touch and get to know Jesus in reality. We call that turning to God conversion.
That is what happened to a chief Roman tax collector in Luke’s gospel story today. I love this little story of this short guy who had heard about Jesus and thus longed inside to just see Jesus. Yet there was, as frequently the case with Jesus, a large crowd. So, I’ll call this little man, Zack. He ran to a place where the crowd was thinner and climbed into a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus. Some of you have gone to see one of our recent popes. Yet, in large functions, the pope is so far away. We long to see him up close.
Well, to Zack’s amazement, Jesus stopped, looked up into Zack’s eyes with love and with a finger said, “Zack, come down for I want to stay at your house today.“ Shock, shock, shock! My house, amidst all these law-abiding Jews? Yes, your house. Wasn’t Zack thrilled? I can think of myself as a little Zack, and I get thrilled. Me?
Jesus comes into our lives in the most unexpected ways. He touches our heart and mind with his love and invites us into a personal relationship with him. I can think of all the people who are holier than I am, and perhaps more special. Yet Jesus loves all of us and wants us closer to him. He came to live inside us at our baptism. For most of us that was soon after our birth when our parents made a commitment for us.
Sometimes, as adults we must accept Jesus and want to get closer to him. He comes in our daily prayer life and in all of the sacraments especially at daily Mass. Jesus multiplies bread and wine to feed us with his own Body and Blood. Jesus invites us to spend some significant daily time with him in prayer. For me, I want to get closer to Jesus so I can have a better relationship with him. I want to be more assured that I shall be with him and all the angels and saints in heaven forever, eternally happy.
Have a blessed week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR}