DAILY MASS READINGS (November 3, 2019)

31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (CYCLE C, Green)

Reading 1 (WISDOM 11:22-12:2)

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
 or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
 But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
 and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.
 For you love all things that are
 and loathe nothing that you have made;
 for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
 And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
 or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
 But you spare all things, because they are yours,
 O LORD and lover of souls,
 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!

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14)

R. (cf. 1)  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. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
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. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.

Reading 2 (2 THESSALONIANS 1:11-2:2)

A reading from the 2nd Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians

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,
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.

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.

– The word of the Lord.

Alleluia (JOHN 3:16)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (LUKE 19:1-10)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

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.
When 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.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: This month of November, we honor our beloved dead and those who are in heaven by our prayers and intercessions. We also honor Jesus Christ, our King who was, who is, and who is to come. And the Sunday liturgy focuses on the mercy of God.
In the First Reading (Wisdom 11:22—12:2), the author compares God’s mercy to the abundance of grain and due. He shows his love and care towards his creation for he makes all things good. Even though one or some have offended him or the others, he rebukes them, not condemning them, reminding them to turn away from their sins and put their faith in the Lord. In the Gospel (Luke 19:1-10), we hear the story of the conversion of Zacchaeus, a tax collector. And Jewish society at that time considers tax collectors not only as sinners, but also traitors. These men do not only collect money from their fellow Jews and sometimes extort, but they also work for Caesar and the Romans. Zacchaeus is a chief publican in Jericho who has heard about Jesus and is much interested to approach him. It happened that he is too short to see the Lord, so he climbed a sycamore tree. The interpretation of this is that Zacchaeus has this shortness in life because he focuses more on his wealth and money when in fact he fails to share some of it with the poor and in other circumstances, he earns them by cheating on his fellow men. And when Jesus noticed him after attempting to see him, he did not realize that the Lord was also looking for him, wishing to stay in his house. The Jews of course were angered at this because they held tight to society’s view on tax collectors. Zacchaeus finally understood the situation, so he vows to give up his profession by giving half of what he has to the poor and repaying four times those people whom he have extorted. And one act of conversion made Jesus proclaimed salvation in this man’s household. Zacchaeus’ conversion story is very similar to the call of Saint Matthew from a tax collector to one of his Apostles. Jesus came to dine with tax collectors and sinners at Matthew’s house, and the Pharisees and scribes grumbly asked the disciples on why the Master is doing this. So Jesus made this paradox of his mission of mercy towards sinners to the sick whom the doctor is more attended to. The righteous and well have already earned their reward, so God wishes to reveal his mercy towards those who have turned their backs on him. That is why we pray this line in the Jubilee of Mercy Prayer: “Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money…”
My brothers and sisters, the Psalm 103 is very precise when he spoke of God the Father as kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in love. And Scriptures would tell us that we are to work for our own repentance and conversion towards his great mercy and love. So as we journey down this road, may we experience God’s mercy in our daily lives and give witness to that mercy to others that they too may experience it. May the sycamore trees enable us to see the shortness of our lives, which are the good things that we have failed to do and the bad things that we have done which we should have not, so that we can go beyond our lives, realize that God continues to care for us, and finally be faithful to his teachings and commands of love of him and our neighbor.

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