31st Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is by and large, for most of us, the most awkward sacrament we practice. I know for myself, when the time comes around for me to confess, I often try to avoid or postpone it. I worry about being embarrassed and bringing my sinfulness into the light.  But I believe the sacrament is not primarily about our sinfulness, rather it is about the faithful love and mercy of the Father.  My experience has shown me that mercy gives life. When humility trumps my pride and faith exceeds my fear, I leave the confessional more alive within my heart than when I entered.  Mercy gives life. 

In this week’s Gospel we hear the wonderful story of Zacchaeus, a short man who had sinned greatly. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus would have taken money from rich and poor in service of the Roman oppressors, King Herod, who was not Jewish, the Temple and to advance himself. If taxes could not be paid, one would be sent to jail or killed.  Zacchaeus was not a moral man. He was, without question, a sinner for whom the hatred from his fellow Jews was justified. But Mercy gives life. Within the heart of Zacchaeus he longed for something more. He knew what the Book of Wisdom proclaimed: “You are merciful to all, for you can do all things, and you overlook people’s sins, so that they repent.”  

When Zacchaeus climbed up the sycamore tree it was not from curiosity, instead it was for mercy.  In his encounter with the Lord, Christ did not express disdain, criticism or judgment.  He looked with love and spoke with mercy.  The Lord said, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” We say that Jesus Christ is the love of the Father incarnate, that God has taken on human flesh.  I believe we can also say that he is mercy incarnate.  Conversion is not primarily about becoming a more moral person.  Rather, it is about the transformation of one’s heart from death to life.  Zacchaeus had oppressed others, he had stolen from others, he had stolen and oppressed others.  Yet now in the presence of mercy itself Zacchaeus is offering to give his possessions away.  Zacchaeus is coming to know love through the mercy of Christ.  The Lord tells Zacchaues and all those present that Zacchaeus remains a son of Abraham, that is, his dignity is unstained.

Mercy gives life.  We may have embarrassment and fear, but mercy gently removes these from our hearts.  Our call to conversion is always relative.  Like Zacchaeus let us open our hearts more, rather than the rear and uncertainty.  Let us open ourselves to God’s love, God’s mercy, and God’s life with Him.  Mercy gives life.  And indeed, as Pope Francis recently said, “this is the time for mercy.”

God Bless & Take Care!

AttachmentSize
Weekly Parish Bulletin412.96 KB

Upcoming Events

Shepherds' Trust
2017 Nov 19 - 08:00
Social Outreach Mini Fair
2017 Nov 19 - 09:30
Eucharistic Ministers' Workshop
2017 Nov 26 - 09:30