Tuesday of the Thirty-third week in Ordinary Time
(Revelation 3:1-6.14-22; Luke 19:1-10)
An old movie shows a forlorn African-American outside a white church in the South. The Lord appears to the man and asks why he is so sad. The man replies that he wants to pray in the church but the people won’t let him in. The Lord responds that they won’t let him in either! The comment corresponds to the reproach of the visionary John for the church of Laodicea in today’s first reading.
The Book of Revelation was written to shore up the hope of Christians suffering persecution at the end of the first century. Its revelation is not so much of what was going to happen in the future but what was happening then. Some communities endured the persecution without giving up the faith. Others, like the church addressed in today’s reading, did not live up to their baptismal promises. The striking image of Jesus knocking on a door with no way to let himself in bespeaks of how Christ does not force himself on any community. He only offers himself, but the community must move to accept him.
We might check our community to see if we welcome Christ. He comes in the poor and the stranger. Do we provide resources so that the poor have basic needs met? Do we work for social justice so that the poor will have a sense of their innate dignity? So we make an effort to reach out to strangers who may come to worship with us? If we can honestly answer in the affirmative to these questions, Jesus is living well among us.