31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
October 30, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








Almighty and merciful God,
by whose gift your faithful offer you
right and praiseworthy service,
grant, we pray,
that we may hasten without stumbling
to receive the things you have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Wis 11:22-12:2

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!

Responsorial 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.

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.

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.

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.

Second Reading 2 Thes 1:11-2:2  

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.

Alleluia Jn 3:16 

Gospel Lk 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.
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."

Reflection Questions

How do you experience God's forbearance?

Do is every good purpose of God being fulfilled in your life?

What might be blocking your view of Jesus?

Catena Nova

Had Zacchaeus what he had from good sources? Read and see. He was the chief of the publicans, that is, he was one to whom the public taxes were paid in: by this he had his wealth. He had oppressed many, had taken from many, and so had heaped much together. Christ entered into his house, and salvation came upon his house; for so said the Lord Himself, This day is salvation come to this house. Now mark the method of this salvation. First he was longing to see the Lord, because he was little in stature: but when the crowd hindered him, he got up into a sycamore tree, and saw Him as He passed by. But Jesus saw him, and said, Zacchaeus, come down, I must abide at your house. You are hanging there, but I will not keep you in suspense. I will not, that is, put you off. You wished to see Me as I passed by, today shall you find Me dwelling at your house. So the Lord went in unto him, and he, filled with joy, said, The half of my goods I give to the poor. Lo, how swiftly he runs, who runs to make friends of the mammon of iniquity.  (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Our Lord also called Zacchaeus from the sycamore he had climbed, and immediately Zacchaeus hastened to come down, and welcome his disciple even before he was called.  And that is a marvelous thing—our Lord had not spoken to him, and Zacchaeus had not seen the Lord with the eyes of the body, and yet he believed in him simply on the word of others. This was because in him faith had been preserved in its natural life and health. He showed his faith by believing in our Lord as soon as he heard he was coming; and the simplicity of his faith was seen when he promised to give half his goods to the poor, and to restore fourfold what he had taken by fraud. For if Zacchaeus’ spirit had not been filled at that moment with the simplicity proper to faith, he would not have made this promise to Jesus, and he would not have given out and distributed, in a brief space of time, what his labors had amassed over many years…. For faith’s only possession is God, and it refuses to own anything else besides him. Faith sets no store by possessions of any kind, apart from God, its one lasting possession. Faith has been implanted in us so that we may find God and possess nothing but him, and so that we may recognize that everything that exists is harmful to us apart from him. (Philoxenus of Mabbug)

Here is a sweet remedy when downhearted and small – we should do what Zaccheus did. He was not tall and climbed a tree in order to see God. His zeal merited him to hear these sweet words: “Zaccheus, go home for today I need to dine with you.” We should do the same when we are low, when our hearts are constricted and lacking in charity – we should climb the Tree of the most Holy Cross and there we shall see, we shall touch God! There we shall find the fire of His ineffable charity, the love which caused Him to run, even to the insults of the Cross which raised Him up and made Him ardently desire the honour of His Father and our salvation, with hunger and thirst. … If we wish, if we are not prevented by our negligence, we may accomplish these words in ourselves, emanating from the lips of Truth, when we mount the Tree of the Cross: “when I am lifted up on high, I shall draw all things to myself” (Jn 12:32). Indeed, when the soul is thus raised up, it sees the blessings of the Father’s goodness and power…, it sees the mercy and lavishness of the Holy Spirit, that is to say, the inexpressible love holding Jesus bound to the Wood of the Cross. Nails and bonds cannot hold Him there, only charity… O climb this most holy Tree where hang the ripe fruits of all the virtues, that the body of the Son of God bears – ardently hasten. Dwell within the holy and sweet love of God. O sweet Jesus, Jesus love. (St Catherine of Siena)

When the soul has arrived at true life, and all her actions are referred to the glory of God, she feels herself suddenly stirred by a desire to see what her Spouse is like, asking who and what is he who has become man for her sake?…And the soul, full of questions, feels the desire of seeing her Spouse increase within her; the longing to know what he is like, what he is in himself; for the knowledge, such as it is, which she gathers from creatures does not content her. Then the soul does like Zaccheus the publican, who wanted to see; she goes on in front, far from the crowd, from the multitude of creatures, which keep us low, and prevent the getting sight of Christ.  She mounts the tree of faith which has its root in God….The soul mounts like Zaccheus to the top of the tree; for Christ is going to pass by with all his gifts.  Reaching the summit she sees the Son of Man; but the light says to her, “Behold the Divinity, infinite, incomprehensible, inaccessible; and all created light stops short.  This is the abyss! – and the soul reaches the highest knowledge of God which can be procured here below; viz., ignorance and the confession that she understands not. But in the midst of the light, in the midst of the desire, Christ speaks, saying: Come down quickly; today I must take up my abode in thy house. This rapid descent which God requires of us is simply an immersion in the abyss of the Divinity, incomprehensible to the intellect; but where the intellect stops short, love advances and goes in.(Bl. Jan Ruysbroeck)

What a mystery is our grandeur in Jesus. This is all that Jesus has shown us in making us climb the symbolic tree…. Let us listen to what He is saying to us:  “Make haste to descend, I must lodge today at your house.” … What Jesus desires is that we receive Him into our hearts.  No doubt, they are already empty of creatures but, alas, I feel mine is not entirely empty of myself and it is for this reason that Jesus tells me to descend.  He, the King of kings, humbled Himself in such a way that His face was hidden and no one recognized Him and I, too, want to hide my face, I want my Beloved alone to see it, that He be the only one to count my tears, that in my heart at least He may rest His dear head and feel that there, He is known and understood! (St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus)

At the beginning of our story here, it is Zacchaeus who seeks to see who Jesus is, working around all the complexities of his relationship with the crowd so as to get a glimpse. But from the moment that Jesus looks up at him, calls him by name and tells him he must spend the night in his house, it is clear that the whole protagonism has been inverted. Not only is it, once again, the apparent guest who is the real host. But all along, it was the regard of Another other that was deliberately seeking out this particular person, Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus’ seeking of Jesus had been real, if still embryonic; it was the seeking of someone who was tied up in a very complex pattern of desire. Perhaps the beginning of Zacchaeus’ being found lay in the fact that, as part of his lostness, he had had to begin to uncouple himself from the immediacy of crowd desire, just so as to be able to get a look at Jesus. Even that uncoupling, leading to his moment of unexpected vulnerability, is part of the process of his receiving the regard which recreated him, is part of what being sought and found by Another other looks like. (James Alison)

Those who have never felt they are sought by God’s mercy find it difficult to grasp the extraordinary greatness of the gestures and words with which Jesus approaches Zacchaeus. Jesus’ acceptance and attention to him lead him to a clear change of mentality: in just a moment he realized how petty life is when it revolves around money, at the cost of stealing from others and receiving their contempt. Having the Lord there, in his house, makes him see everything with different eyes, even with a little of the tenderness with which Jesus looked at him. And his way of seeing and using money also changes: the gesture of grabbing is replaced by that of giving. Indeed, he decides to give half of what he possesses to the poor and to return four times the sum to those from whom he has stolen (cf. v. 8). Zacchaeus discovers from Jesus that it is possible to love gratuitously: until this moment he was mean, but now he becomes generous; he had a taste for amassing wealth, now he rejoices in distributing. By encountering Love, by discovering that he is loved despite his sins, he becomes capable of loving others, making money a sign of solidarity and communion. (Pope Francis)


Up a Tree

     If Jesus Christ were passing through the place you happen to live, I suppose you’d be like Zacchaeus, and do whatever you needed in order to see him – even climb a tree.  But if you saw a local slumlord known to take rent money from the poor and grow wealthy from it already perched in that tree, someone who couldn’t care less about his tenants’ living conditions; or if, sitting on a branch, you saw a local merchant grown rich by charging more for goods than is fair because there’s so little competition in your town; or if you saw someone with a bad reputation, a local outcast, straddling a limb of that tree – and then you saw Jesus stop along the way and say he was going to their house to stay the night – well, that might be just a little much for you to take.  After all, why not stay at the local rectory?

     But then -- if you heard that scoundrel in the tree boast to Jesus the rent was coming down, the prices were falling, the drinking and carousing were stopping, and the church was getting half the bank account – well, that might just be more than you could take. After all, leopards don’t change their spots.  Not that fast, at least.

     Or do they?  Think of the other tax collector in the gospel, Matthew, who left his post to follow Jesus the moment he said, “Come, follow me.” Or Peter, James, and John who left their fishing nets the same way – though Peter told Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.”  Or Mary Magdalene who followed him to the cross even though he cast seven demons from her. Or Paul on the road to Damascus, changed in a short time from Christian-killer to Christian- believer – though he knew he was the “least of the apostles.”  No, there’s something about meeting Jesus that can change us before we know it.

     And like Zacchaeus, that change often includes the people in our lives we’ve not given their due – the people we’ve cheated of our love, our time, and even our treasure.  When salvation comes to a house because Jesus has come there to stay -- well, all of a sudden we want to be in right relationship again.  And not in a stingy fashion, but four times over (G).  Think of Ebenezer Scrooge raising his sash on Christmas morning, telling a boy to go and buy the prize turkey for Bob Cratchett’s dinner and later that day visiting his estranged nephew to put things right between them.  This is what happens when salvation comes to your house and mine.  We were lost and found by Christ, and all of a sudden we go in search of those who were lost to us, and we find them again.

     But there is one person you might miss in this process of recovery —  yourself.  Like Zacchaeus, you might think of yourself as a person of little stature, worthy of no more than a perch from which to spy Jesus, convinced along with everyone else, of how far out on a limb you have to go just to hope for salvation.  In other words, you might defraud yourself, believing you’re in far greater debt to the past than is right, even to half your possessions (G).

     God knows, there are so many things we can belittle ourselves over, that prevent us from hastening without stumbling to receive the things God has promised (cf. Collect).  Our past sins, broken relationships, our mistaken choices, misguided desires, our regrets – each and every one giving us reason to think we’ve forever forfeited a glimpse at what still might be, as if salvation had passed us by without so much as a sideways glance. 

     In such moments when our fraudulent selves think it’s impossible to be otherwise, a whisper of wisdom just might rise from within us: 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? (I).  And so we discover the truth about ourselves.  Yes, our past selves, along with the present ones, but especially our future selves.

     So come down from that tree.  The branches aren’t strong enough to hold you anyway.   And you can’t hide in the leaves.  For something, someone, else beckons you.  And don’t worry if the house you live in hasn’t been cleaned in a while, or the cupboards are bare, the dishes chipped, or the threshold too low for such a Guest -- nothing about you can stop him from saying, Today salvation has come to this house (G). 

     In fact, the Guest -- the Lord and lover of souls (I) -- will do the cleaning himself, and the shopping, and the repairing, and even raise your stature  --  for a Table is set where all can find a seat and the blessed fare he serves gives strength to live your best life, even if others grumble who think you belong somewhere else than in the company of One makes you worthy of his calling and powerfully brings to fulfillment every good purpose (cf. II).  Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.



Intercessions (The Sunday Web Site; Joe Milner)

For the Church: that we may extend God’s love to all who are on the fringes of society, invite them to come and see Jesus, and find acceptance friendship in the Christian community.

For the grace to risk all for Christ: that like Zacchaeus, we may risk popularity and pride to connect with Christ in our lives.

For a spirit of stewardship: that we may protect and care for all creation which God has made and which reflects God’s glory.

For all who are burdened by fear and anxiety: that the Spirit will free them, help them to recognize that God is with them, and fill their hearts with peace.

For all who have lost their way in life, particularly for youth who have run away or who have entered the drug culture: that we may reach out to them and offer them a way home to God, to their families and to their true selves.

For all who have grown wealthy through unjust means: that Christ may visit their hearts and show them opportunities for change and a new path to pursue.

For all who are ill: that God will bring healing to all who are sick, renewal of hope to all who find life difficult and strength to all who serve their needs.

For peace throughout the world: that God will protect all who are at risk because of warfare, gang activity, or violence on city streets.

For all who have died particularly our family members, our friends, and our fellow parishioners: that God will welcome them into the eternal banquet.

Just and merciful God, true Lord of every house, sure delight of every heart,

come into our midst today to speak your word and satisfy our hunger.

Enable us to see you clearly, to welcome you with joy, and to give justice and mercy a place in our lives.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

 Offertory Anthem (Randall Thompson)


“Christ, He requires still, wheresoer’er He comes, / 

To feed, or lodge, to have the best of rooms: / 

Give Him the choice; grant Him the nobler part / 

Of all the house; the best of all’s the heart.” (Robert Herrick; d. 1674)

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come!