November 5, 2019
Dear Family of Mary!
“The Heavenly Father gave Himself through a human face, and this face is the face of my Son. You, apostles of my love, you should always carry the face of my Son in your hearts and your thoughts. You should always think of His love and His sacrifice. You should pray to always feel His presence, because, apostles of my love, that is the way for you to help all those who do not know my Son, who have not come to know His love….” (November 2, 2019)
Our Lady said these words to us on Saturday, Nov. 2. And on Sunday, Nov. 3, Fr. Leon gave this most exquisite homily for English Mass in Medjugorje. (Stephanie, our shipmate again generously transcribed it for us. Thank you, Stephanie!!) In the Gospel, Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus! He wanted to see Jesus’ face. And so, he climbed a tree. And his life was never the same again. Our Lady wants us to see the face of Jesus, her Son, and be changed irrevocably.
Here is Fr. Leon’s homily:English Homily in Medjugorje
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Fr. Leon Pereira
“Zacchaeus make haste and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
There’s something about seeing, which is more than just believing. Seeing is also taking part. I remember when Pope Benedict came to England and Scotland. It wasn’t the same just to watch him on television. We had to see him with our own eyes to take part in that. Because everyone had feared it would be a disaster and it turned into a resounding success, contrary to all that the fear-mongers had said.
And all the people who came out, many of them, most of them non-Catholic, who saw, saw a humble man and they were entranced. You could see even the Queen was rather entranced by the Pope. So, seeing is more than believing. Seeing anchors us somehow in an event. It makes us more than just a feature on the fringe of the crowd.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. He could have listened to His teaching and had the same benefit as anyone else. But longing to see for himself, he climbs a tree. And swaying in the branches hanging on for a good view, he finds instead that he himself is seen.
“Zacchaeus come down quickly for I must stay at your house today.”
And with great joy he rushes down to welcome Jesus. What began perhaps as just curiosity flowers into a joyful home-coming, as Zacchaeus finds himself to have been already seen and known and understood.
And what happens next shows that Zacchaeus has started to see everything in a new way. If he can be seen directly, not hidden by the crowd, or lost in the tree’s foliage, then nothing in his life can ever look the same way again. The conversion he embraces is not a way of getting Jesus onto his side or earning His attention. It is the fruit of finding himself in the gaze of the Savior. And the life that he has lived is too small a thing to contain the promises and blessings that Jesus brings.
So often, we think we have to get God on our side. Come and see things from my perspective and give me what I want. Give me the heads of my enemies. Crush them. Destroy them. Give me all the things that I want, and then I will worship you the way you deserve to be worshiped.
That’s if we stay in the tree and look. But instead we find that we are the ones who are seen. Salvation, therefore, is as easy as climbing a tree. It’s about not settling for merely hearing. Jesus is our teacher and tells us how to live a new life. But He’s more than a teacher. He is that new life. He is that great event that we’ve been waiting for; the thing that we must not miss.
Our faith is not just that Jesus tells us what to do or how to live, but that in seeing Him, we pass beyond the old way of seeing – in which we are the center of all things – into, we pass into, the real world – where God is the true center: the Alpha and the Omega.
The life of sin flattens reality around us. It makes everything into an object for our use, for our gratification. And how miserable we are when we wallow in sin, when we have not succeeded in all the things that we’ve planned; but have been thwarted, thwarted by our own stupidity, by our own selfishness, by our sins. But God, too, we can make into an object in this world, of our world, to be weighed up, evaluated, and put to one side when inconvenient.
But coming to see Jesus is an experience that changes our whole way of seeing. Our salvation begins in the encounter with someone who is not another object in the world, but who reveals the personal depth of the Life of God. In Jesus, we learn to see ourselves as called to live in a world which is The Great Event of Divine Love – and not that empty space in which our own needs and desires are to be projected.
Salvation is as easy as climbing a tree; which is, of course, what Jesus does for us on the cross. He climbs the Tree of Life to open to us His own way of seeing, the resonance of the sound and shape of the Triune Love shared by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in all things. The cross reveals that we are not so much called to look at Jesus, as to see all things in Him, with Him, and through Him. He is the Light of the World, and in His Light, we see light.
So then, climb the tree. See Jesus in the light of faith. And begin to see how the world is not the empty, impersonal echo of blind forces. But a place of the encounter between lovers. The Tree of Life, where even, as Jesus says, the birds of the air find shelter, and where we discover that, all along, we have been seen, and known, and loved beyond all measure – beyond all that we dare to believe.
And then come down. For our God desires to dine with us. Jesus says, “I must stay at your house today.” And He also says, “For salvation has come to this house today.” In other words, Jesus is That Salvation.
That Salvation desires to dine with us… and, to receive. As we divest ourselves of all the things that we have held precious thus far, to be received, that is what He desires. And then let our true treasure be entrusted to us. For only one can climb that tree and be nailed and crucified to it, and then turn that into a Tree of Life. We must come down and let Him dine.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May we all see the face of Jesus and be saved!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
© Mary TV 2019