In just two weeks we will again begin a spiritual journey as Orthodox Christians. Our annual journey toward Pascha will begin February 5th and come to a grand conclusion on Sunday, April 16th when we will celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. But long before we can celebrate we have some preparations to focus on. Long before we can see the Lord on Pascha we need to get ourselves ready today. If we want to see the Lord, we need to plan ahead.
With Christmas and Epiphany in our rearview mirror, today the Church gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Today the Church draws our attention to a short man who “sought to see who Jesus was.” (Luke 19.3) We know him as Zacchaeus, a rich tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus because he was short. This Gospel is read each year two weeks before the Triodion begins. When you hear about Zacchaeus, you know the Triodion and Great Lent is just around the corner. But it is never just a story. The Church invites us to learn from Zacchaeus for our journey that is about to begin. What are we asked to learn?
Zacchaeus was a sinner and was lost.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus.
Zacchaeus planned in advance to see Jesus.
Zacchaeus put his plan into action to see Jesus.
Zacchaeus saw Jesus.
Zacchaeus heard Jesus call out to him.
Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus into his home.
Zacchaeus gave half of his wealth to the poor.
Zacchaeus repaid all the people he stole money from, by four times.
Jesus came to save the lost.
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.”
The crowd didn’t want Jesus to visit Zacchaeus.
With the Triodion only two weeks away and Great Lent, I invite you to replace the name “Zacchaeus” with your name. Then go back and read the story and ask yourself...
What is my plan to be saved by God?
How will I put my plan into action?
How will I welcome God into my heart and home?
How will I repent for my sins?
How will I respond when the crowd doesn’t want me to see Jesus?
The Church is the Body of Christ.
The Church is here to help you answer these questions.
Trust the Church.