On this feast of the Dedication of a Church we read about Zacchaeus who greatly desired to see the Lord but was unable to do so because he was short in stature. So he climbed a sycamore tree.
Similarly someone may desire to view more closely the one who has stirred up these inner wonders and powerful feelings, but because of short stature is unable to do so.
What, therefore, should be done? Surely that person should climb a sycamore tree – that is, put into practice…the mortification of the senses and our human nature.
Thus, one lives in that interior self with whom God walks….
Among the wise of this world such conduct is reputed to be the greatest foolishness that they have ever heard. But consider it certain, most dear ones, that this is the foolishness that God prefers.
Listen to the Lord who says: I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have
hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to children.
But to Zacchaeus already lodged in the tree let us see what the Lord will say. He says,
Zacchaeus, hurry down.
So now, by all means, you should come down here; that is, from all these things do not keep even a tiny bit for yourself, but come down to your barest nothingness, possess nothing, and consider nothing as your own.
Christ adds: Today I must stay at your house, for that is the one thing necessary for me.
If perchance someone has already climbed into the tree and perceived a certain glimmer of truth, but has not possessed it or properly grasped it, it may be that such a person may yet have a natural inclination toward or an adhesion to that same truth.
Both nature and grace together might yet operate within that person, even though a true spirit of resignation has not been attained.
Truly, whatever operates by nature always has a certain stain and is not perfectly pure.
For this reason God bids Zacchaeus to come down, that is, to deny, lose, to leave behind and to mortify his nature in all those ways by which he might cling to a spirit of ownership.
Christ said: Today I must stay at your house. This “today” means eternity.
Thus, he later adds: Today salvation has come to this house, a salvation bestowed on all of us by the kindness and mercy of our Creator, who is blessed for all ages.
John Tauler (c.1300-1361): Sermon for the Feast of the Dedication of a Church from the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers.