I noticed that most people kept those identifying markers on all the time: for them, these colorful items were symbols of security. I attached the stringy blue-green pom-pom to my piece of luggage and stuffed the handkerchief away in my satchel.
I figured: what good is one piece of cloth going to do me if I really get lost? Better to know the language of the country where I am lost; better to stay still and not panic; better to ask for help; and, better to get this message out on the PA system, “A little priest lost; come to the lost and found.”
We civilized humans use markers all the time to make sense of our life, to give our life a sense of direction and meaning. We first learn and absorb these markers from our family, which is our first school when it comes to markers; and we also learn from our societal and religious communities.
At our best, we humans serve as markers of goodness for others. This is how we Christians connect with each other, by looking to one another, trusting in one another; communicating to each other through our words and actions, through our very lives, that which is sacred to us, that which is at the heart of each one of us: Christ in all his glory, Christ who stands before the Father pleading our cause, Christ the Wisdom of God.
For us living, breathing, human members of Christ’s royal body, the church is a living, breathing, human marker of what is sacred in our relationship with God and with his Son our Lord Jesus Christ; and as church, we learn to share with each other our faith and our struggles, our failures, our needs and accomplishments, our very humanity. For us, the church is a safe haven, not so as to escape our human existence or our struggles, but as a refuge centered on the Lord Jesus Christ our anchor, who, as True Servant, and Lamb of God, always leads us to God who is, was, and always will be, our Truth, the Only Truth we know: For God is always all-encompassing, merciful, and kind.
As church, we proclaim and confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord, the fountain of all holiness and all serenity; that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13: 8).
Another name for markers is values, and values are those priorities we make time for and invest energy in and grow into; we may even at times call them “things,” but they are not things, as in “objects,” and values are not abstractions that we think about every once in a while, or work out beforehand in our minds.
We, the church, have only one priority: To serve, and love, and know our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind; and to love one another as he has loved us; for there is no other Lord, no other Way to be but to be for Christ.
On a day like today, the Lord’s Day of Resurrection, we the Church gather to proclaim and profess that all of life, our life, is in Christ, with Christ, and for Christ. For us, there is no real life, or joy, or peace, apart from God in Christ. On a day like today we, too, like Zacchaeus, hunger for a glimpse of the Lord.
But really, on a day like today when all of us are gathered in solidarity, it is Jesus who gets a glimpse of us; it is Jesus who looks at each one of us and says, “come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house” (Lk. 19: 5). And where is this house? It is first and foremost our heart, there where each of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit, a residence, a dwelling place of the Holy One. It is where we are one with the Christ and are completely present to him; and it is where his power, his glory, and his mercy moves us to repent and make amends if we must: for that is what the presence of Jesus does: it moves us to love, to make amends; it restores us to our original nature, our original generosity, and to our original joy.
Let us also take notice of what happens when Zacchaeus comes down from where he was: He sees Jesus eye-to-eye, on ground level, and Jesus speaks to him. So it is with us: we do not have to look for a perfect place or angle from which to see Jesus: We are already where we are supposed to be: We are already in the very presence of the Christ; we are already in the living, breathing, covenant love of Jesus.
So each of us is a living, breathing, human marker for all that Jesus is, for all that God wishes to do with us, and for us. Indeed, today and everyday God the Lord means to stay at our house and bring salvation to those we love and to those we do not love as we should. Now we can listen; now we can give him all that we have wanted to give; now we can tell him, “Jesus, I have waited for salvation for so long; and here you are; here I am: Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”