October 30, 2016 – 31st Sunday of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Alphonsis Rodriguez (1532-1617)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Wisdom 11:22-12:2   –   Psalm 145   –   2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2   –   Luke 19:1-10

“Forsake me not, O lord, my God: be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation!” (Today’s ‘Entrance Antiphon’ based on Psalm 38) 

I’m never able to comprehend how some non-Catholics can attend a Mass and go away saying, “the trouble with you Catholics is that you’re too focused on sin and wrongdoing and beat yourselves up.” It’s obvious that they didn’t come when these scripture readings were being proclaimed. How could anyone hear these scriptures and not see the limitless mercy of God? Don’t overlook today’s “Alleluia Verse” just before the Holy Gospel is proclaimed: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” And it’s important for us to remember that there are no words in all the Holy Gospels that are not included deliberately to tell us just a little more than the mere words portray. The story that we hear today – about Zacchaeus the tax collector and his attempt to see Jesus up close – have Jesus doing something that no practicing Jew would ever do: He calls Zacchaeus down and invites himself to the tax collector’s house for dinner! The main point that this Gospel passage intends to get across to the people is that there is nothing that any of us can do to absolutely block God’s Healing Grace from touching our lives. Even the tax collector’s simple curiosity was enough to win him the forgiving mercy of Jesus. What’s the bottom line for us today? We have to believe that there is nothing that any of us can do to absolutely shut out the loving mercy and forgiveness of God from our lives. The bottom line for today’s liturgy has to be the ending of today’s Holy Gospel: “today, salvation has come to this house…”

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