First Monastery at Tracadie
He came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. Luke 19
Our Lady of the Valley
God’s interventions in our lives are always unexpected and surprising. We cannot plot them out ahead of time or predict them. And more often than not they smash our so-called certitudes. All Zacchaeus wanted to do was get a better glimpse of Jesus. And Jesus surprisingly and unexpectedly (scandalously according to the bystanders) intervened and invited himself into Zacchaeus’s home and life. And Zacchaeus was never the same after that. Perhaps his faith in God’s constant, loving, intervening care enabled him to move into a future, not with certitude, but with trusting faith. Zacchaeus was faithful to Jesus’s surprising self-invitation; we too can be open to that very same invitation on the part of Jesus. And ultimately it is because Jesus was faithful to his Father’s unfailing love, even unto death, that we can live in his promise to be with us until the end of time.
The New Church at Spencer
As Abbot Damian reminds us, it is this promise of Jesus that has sustained our community’s life throughout its existence; from Petit Clairvaux in Tracadie to Our Lady of the Valley in Rhode Island to Saint Joseph’s Abbey here in Spencer. There have been all sorts of ups and downs, ins and outs, lights and shadows, fires and re-buildings from the ashes throughout these past 192 years. What, where and how our future as a community will unfold, we do not know. But what we do know and can stake our lives on is that the Lord’s faithfulness to us will never ever fail. And it is that faithfulness that we celebrate. Let us rejoice and be glad.