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Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 31, 2019

 November 3, 2019

Wisdom 11:22-12:2

Psalm 145

Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians 1:11-2:2

Luke 19-1:10

What would you do if Jesus knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your house today?”  Would you be startled, probably the answer would be yes.  Would you be excited?  Well, I should hope so.  Would you be embarrassed?  Yikes, I should have vacuumed!  Jesus often “dropped in” at unexpected times and He often visited the “uninvited” – the poor, the lame, and even public sinners like Zacchaeus, the tax collector!

Tax collectors were not only disliked by the public they were absolutely despised and treated as outcasts.  They accumulated vast fortunes for themselves at the expense of others.  Zacchaeus was probably really despised because he was the “chief tax collector.”

So why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home?  The answer is simple.  Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and in his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible.  He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of all his possessions to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for his fraudulent past.  His repentance included more than mere words.  His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the entire community he lived in could experience as real and genuine. 

Jesus does not say anything to Zacchaeus about conversion, or giving up his day job as chief tax collector, or his fortune.  He only says that He desires to stay with this social outcast.  Zacchaeus comes down from the tree he had climbed and welcomed Jesus with great joy.  Conversion follows the encounter; we all must realize that Jesus see’s us first, meets us, invites us, and that relationship makes the difference in our actions and in our lives.

Friends, God’s forgiveness of us is not a legal arrangement, but something more personal and relational.  God desires that we live free from the past and especially free for the future.  We must understand that the forgiving touch of Jesus is also to be extended through us to others.  Also, we are invited by grace to live forgivingly with those who seek God’s touch; even though we know their sinful histories – those are the Zacchaeus’ in your life.

The Apostle Paul had his past; Augustine, Ignatius, Francis and many others had to live beyond their personal demons.  We must climb down from the tree as Zacchaeus did and allow Jesus to meet us and raise us up to send us out to “DE-TREE” others.

Our Risen Lord is always ready to make Himself at home with us.  I pray that He knocks on all of our doors and we invite Him in with open arms and open heart.  You can vacuum later!

Question of the Day:  Are you able to invite Jesus into your life through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, You have given us Your Son as a precious gift.  In exchange take from je everything I possess.

Prosit

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

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