“Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). So concludes this Tuesday’s moving gospel passage in which the tax-collector Zacchaeus repents of his sins and gives himself over to God at last. As I immerse myself in these words, the sun is setting on another short November day outside my window. COVID-19 cases are continuing to surge around the country. My (remote) sophomore fall is drawing nearer to its end and I feel my former life on campus receding deeper into the folds of my memory. And yet, despite these sorrows, the gospel invites a flame of hope into my cloistered, lamp-lit bedroom tonight.
As a sophomore who stayed online during the fall semester, it was difficult to get into the mentality that I was going to be working at home, far away from the library at STM and the friends who had inspired me to work so hard my first year. I pined at the idea of not attending my first Danceworks recital and an empty Stiles common room. I painted a rather gloomy picture for myself of my time in Virginia, and spent my energy fruitlessly wishing away the pandemic that had turned my life upside down.
“For dominion is the LORD’s, and he rules the nations. To him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth.”
Today’s first reading is an elephant that I’m not going to touch with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. It’s hard enough to breath in this calm before next Tuesday’s storm without letting an elephant sit on my chest, thank you very much—and while you may despise my mixed metaphors and unseasonal Grinch references, I expect you feel the same. Let’s leave Ephesians 5:21 and all that “mutual submission” stuff to Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis and squirming pre-Cana-nites everywhere. Instead, let’s talk mustard.