Sunday, November 3, 2019

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 27 The Abbot's Concern for the Excommunicated
Mass: Wis 11:22-12:2; Resp Ps 145; Th 1:11-2:2; Lk 19:1-10

I will praise your name forever, my king and my God.

With a first glance at the readings for this Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, I thought of the Prologue of the Holy Rule of St Benedict. My mind went to the Holy Rule with the words from the Book of Wisdom: "But you [Lord] have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people's sins that they may repent" (Wis 11:23). St Benedict writes this: "The Lord waits for us daily to translate into action, as we should, his holy teachings. Therefore our life span has been lengthened by way of truce, that we may amend our misdeeds. As the Apostle says: Do you not know that the patience of God is leading you to repent (Rm 2:4)? And indeed the Lord assures us in his love: I do not wish the death of a sinner, but that he turn back to me and live (Ezk 33:11). (Prol. 35-38).

Another place I went was to Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est (2005), to a verse I've quoted before. It was all the "seeing" in the Gospel passage that led me to the words of Benedict XVI: "Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave" (18).

Not without reflecting on our own spiritual growth and development, our search for the "Lord and lover of souls" (Ws 11:26), we can turn to dear "short of stature" Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, "a cheat and traitor, utterly unworthy of the mercy of God" (R. Barron). Aware of his shortcomings, misdeeds, and need of forgiveness, Zacchaeus actively went seeking Mercy and Love Incarnate who was to pass his way. Zacchaeus was ready to turn back to God and live! Open to encounter with the Lord, Zacchaeus embraced the look of love that he craved. What did he do about it? "For Zacchaeus it was enough just once to be lovingly approached by Jesus' gaze and, on his part, to honor others with the same service of love" (Andre Louf). The Lord is ready for you; He is ready for me. The Divine Physician waits patiently. Do you hear him? Come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. United with Zacchaeus, may we receive LOVE with joy!

If I have no contact with God whatsoever in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be "devout" and perform my "religious duties", then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely "proper", but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbor and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me.
(Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 18)

United with St Paul, we pray for one another:

Brothers and sisters: We 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, 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 Th 1:11-12)

(Bishop Robert Barron)

Always think of God as your lover. Therefore He wants to be with you, just as a lover wants to be with the beloved. He wants your attention, as every lover wants the attention of the beloved. He wants to listen to you, as every lover wants to hear the voice of the beloved. If you turn to me and ask, "Are you in love with God?" I would pause, hesitate and say, "I am not certain. But of one thing I am certain-that He is in love with me. 
(Basil Hume, The Mystery of Love)

Gertrude Feick 2019

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