Call to worship

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today, we celebrate an interlude of mercy, that divine moment when we see God who has chosen, forgiven and saved us. We recognize how much Jesus wants to come close to us, touch us and save us — no matter who we are, no matter what we have done.

  • To the point: Jesus did not intend to stop in Jericho, but Zacchaeus stopped him short! Jesus responds to Zacchaeus’ uninhibited enthusiasm by doing for him the very thing Jesus came to do: “to seek out and to save what was lost.” Their dramatic encounter brings out something about each of them that escaped the grumbling crowd — Zacchaeus is open to being changed through an encounter with Jesus; Jesus is the One who inspires the kind of change that leads to salvation. We are to be just as uninhibited and enthusiastic about encountering Jesus and just as willing to be changed by him.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 19:1-10) to the first reading: Wisdom poetically describes the same dynamic dramatically depicted in the gospel between Jesus and Zacchaeus: changed behavior is called forth, God loves and spares all things, God desires conversion and grants salvation.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Some people we meet have a lasting effect on us. For example, John Paul II’s effect on the young people gathered for world youth days, a respected teacher’s influence on a youngster’s choice of career, a beloved grand- parent’s impact on a youngster’s behavior. The challenge of the gospel is to allow Jesus to come close enough to us to have lasting effect.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 19: 1-10)

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

Oh Jesus, stay at our house!
Call us by name, take time with us!
Let our hearts run over with the joy you bring,
and spread it to everyone, everywhere.
We’ll gladly give it to your poor,
and to our neighbors, as Zacchaeus finally did.
Oh, do say it to us, Lord, that you must stay
at our house this day and all days.

The First Reading

(Wisdom 11: 22-12:2)

But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls.

Awesome God, the universe is just a drop of dew for you.
so much higher you are, so far beyond our  limits.
Yet, you pitch your tent among us
and dwell in our every day.
We know you are above and beyond us.
But your Spirit abides in the very center of our being.
Thank you for making a home in the deep-down part of us.

The Second Reading

(2 Thessalonians 1: 11-2:2)

Brothers and sisters: we always pray for you.

Lord, walk with us on this journey.
We, your children, travel together.
Help us help each other along the way!
When we sound alarm bells —  mind and soul afraid — help us trust in you.

Copyright © 2019, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection