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Tuesday, November 18, 1997

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Dedication of the Churches of Sts. Peter & Paul
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

2 Maccabees 6:18-31
Psalm 3
Luke 19:1-10

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"He first ran on in front, then climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus' route, in order to see Him." —Luke 19:4

The world is full of Zacchaeuses: people not so much small of stature (Lk 19:3) as small of heart. We are surrounded by petty, mean-spirited, little people. We are sometimes that way ourselves. We need to see Jesus to become big-hearted, great-souled men and women of God.

Like Zacchaeus, we need a tree to climb so we can see Jesus. We are too petty to see over the crowd of faithlessness and selfishness obstructing our view of Jesus. We need a tree by which we rise above our sinful littleness.

The poet, Joyce Kilmer, wrote: "Only God can make a tree." By God's grace, many small Zacchaeuses have seen Jesus and become tall trees. These former Zacchaeuses help the present ones become new trees for future Zacchaeuses to climb.

A tree was part of the first sin. Jesus was crucified and died on a tree (Acts 13:29) to take away our sin. Jesus was lifted up on the tree of the cross so that we might be lifted up (see Jn 3:14; 12:32), see Him Whom we have pierced (Jn 19:37), and become life-giving trees (see Ps 1:3) in a "culture of death."

Climb a tree. See Jesus. Be a tree.

Prayer:  Father, make me a mighty oak tree, planted by You to show forth Your glory (see Is 61:3).

Promise:  "This is how he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation." —2 Mc 6:31

Praise:  Rose never could master the language of the American Indians. She learned to touch their hearts by her life of prayer. They called her "Woman-who-prays-always" (see Lk 18:1).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 22, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 26, 1997