Each year, the Church calendar repeats itself. Each year, the Church reads (if you’re in Church every day) the entire New Testament, excluding the Book of Revelation, from cover-to-cover. Each year, the Church urges us on to a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Each year, we are expected to make a decision to welcome Him into our hearts. But what about welcoming Him into our homes? What would you do if Jesus came to your house this year?
Each year, near the end of January, (thirteen week before Pascha to be exact) the Church glances forward to the Feast of Feasts, Holy and Great Pascha. On this Sunday, known as the 15th Sunday of Luke, the Church reads the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, the short tax collector who wanted to see Jesus. Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, but he got much more than he bargained for. Jesus said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19.5) What did he do? “So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.” (Luke 19.6)
What would you do if Jesus said to you, “Hi there, I’m coming to your house tonight?” Surely, you would run ahead and prepare your house. You would clean it. You would remove clutter so there would be no distractions. You would probably even cancel any appointments you made, just to make sure you had time to prepare for His visit. Then, once everything had been prepared, you would open the door and receive Him joyfully. Right?????
Well, Jesus IS coming to your house, but not just your house…..your soul. Is it prepared? When Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming, he PLANNED ahead so he was ready for him. He may have been short, but he was not short-sighted. In the same way, we must PLAN ahead. We must not be short-sighted when it comes to preparing our soul to receive Christ. It could happen at any time, on any day, at any hour. During every Divine Liturgy Christ calls to us in the Eucharist. Are we prepared to receive Holy Communion? Have we been to Holy Confession recently? Do we set aside time every day to pray and listen to God? When the time for Holy Communion arrives, do we approach “with the fear of God, with faith and love,” or do we sit back in the pews and watch other people receive Holy Communion? Zacchaeus knew what to do, and He received God. What would you do?