Sunday, November 3, 2013

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, November 3, 2013 with Reflection

1ST READING - Wisdom 11:22-12:2
22 Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. 23 But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent. 24 For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. 25 And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? 26 But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, 12: for your imperishable spirit is in all things! Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!
P S A L M - Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14
R: I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
I will extol you, O my God and King, and I will bless your name forever and ever. Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. (R) The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. (R) 10 Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you. 11 Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might. (R) 13 The Lord is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. 14 The Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. (R)
2ND READING - 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
11 Brothers and sisters: We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 2: We ask you, brothers and sisters, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
Luke 19:1-10
At that time, Jesus 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, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 7When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”



The person of Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel reading is truly intriguing. Have you ever wondered what happened to him eventually? According to an unreliable tradition, he became St. Peter’s collaborator, and later a bishop, too, and finally a missionary to France. But really, these are more of legends than anything else.

       In any case, it’s OK. No less than Jesus Himself “canonized” Zacchaeus. There, inside Zacchaeus’s house (how amazing of Jesus to have entered his home!), our Lord declared, “Today salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham.”

       Who is Zacchaeus? First, his most probable physical attribute of being “vertically challenged” made him climb a tree to encounter Jesus. In a deeper sense, he must have been “vertically challenged” in that his was a stature frowned upon by society. Yes, he may have been a well-known and well-to-do public official, but he was really hated by most people. This, for the simple reason of his notorious profession as a tax collector. At that time in Israel, the job was equated to sinfulness, dishonesty, corruption and collaboration with the foreign powers.

       Nevertheless, Zacchaeus didn’t allow any of these considerations to become obstacles in his quest to meet Jesus. More than his short height, it was really his zeal and desire which drove him to climb up a tree.

       What about on the part of Jesus? No amount of flashy appearances would matter at all for Him. In the first place, He really wanted to meet Zacchaeus and have lunch with him in his house! After all, didn’t our Lord once say that the shepherd was willing to leave the 99 in search of the one lost sheep?

       How beautiful indeed is the result of the encounter between human effort and divine initiative: genuine conversion, radical repentance, authentic change of heart, new life in God. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: Like Zacchaeus, do you do “crazy” things just to meet Jesus?
Lord, help me to see that no matter what obstacles I face, nothing can keep me from Your love.

St. Martin de Porres, religious, pray for us.

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