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Liturgy

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Wisdom 11:22-12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10

The stage is set for Zacchaeus the wealthy tax collector.  Tax collectors were among the most despised people in the society.  The tax system itself ensured that.  Their wages were the shekels they could extort from their own people over and above what they collected for the occupying Roman powers.  Zacchaeus was “a chief tax collector,” one of the best at his job.  Everything that Luke has written about wealth prepares us for a fierce confrontation between Jesus and Zacchaeus.  What we hear instead is an invitation to dinner.

On other occasions when Jesus consorted with “tax collectors and sinners,” it was the Pharisees who complained.  But on this occasion “all who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’”  All, even his own followers.

Where are we to situate ourselves in this scene?  It comes natural to us to place the Pharisees among the ‘baddies’, thereby placing ourselves among the ‘goodies’.  But in this case we are inescapably included in the ‘all’.

It is a trick of the mind to divide the world into camps.  It provides an opportunity to place ourselves on the high ground (that's why we do it).  But this time it is impossible.  God's mercy doesn’t follow the contours of the land as we map it.  It doesn’t restrict itself to the narrow channels that we construct leading (surprise!) to our own door.  It floods out everywhere.  We see this happening in the behaviour of Jesus.

It would be a useful exercise to make a top-ten list of villains: criminals, terrorists, financiers, politicians from the other side, a few industrialists…. In your imagination sit down with them, one by one, in the company of Jesus, and see how the conversation goes….

By Donagh O'Shea

Pope Francis Twitter Feed

* Our Way of Life *

 

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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