|Free eBook: The Books of the New Testament
Mass Readings for the Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C:
The First Reading is taken from the book of Wisdom 11:22, 12:2. The author of Wisdom says that although the whole universe is like a grain of dust compared with God who created it, yet he loves all the things which he has created. It is he who preserves all creation, he who forgives the sins of men, his spirit is in every creature.
The Second Reading is from the Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians 1:11, 2:2. Having encouraged the Thessalonians to persevere in their Christian faith, thus giving glory to God and Christ, St. Paul tells them not to consider that the end of the world and the second coming of Christ in glory to judge the world, is near at hand. This idea had in some way become fairly widespread among the converts and some of them just sat idly waiting for Christ's coming, refusing to do any work. Such behavior was condemned by Paul who told the offenders to work and earn their daily bread.
The Gospel is from St. Luke 19: 1-10. Zacchaeus's interest in seeing what Jesus was like was caused by something more than idle curiosity. Unknown to him, the grace of God was working within him. He thought that he just wanted to see what Jesus was like. Jesus knew already what Zacchaeus was like and intended to see him and save him from his downward rush after earthly wealth. He would offer him eternal riches. This is exactly what happened. Jesus entered the home and heart of Zacchaeus that day, and not only the home and heart of Zachaeus, but of his whole household. From that day Jesus had devoted followers in Jericho, and Christianity had a strong foothold in that ancient city.
We cannot have the slightest doubt that God wants us all in heaven. Neither can we doubt that he is sending out calls to us when we wander foolishly off the right road. Unfortunately for ourselves, we can refuse to listen to these calls. We can turn a deaf ear to God's offer of mercy and grace. If we do, one of our greatest sources of sorrow and regret in our future life, will be that, while we still had a chance to repent, our stupid stubbornness made us refuse to listen to our loving Father's calls to repentance.
Zacchaeus was not so stubborn or so foolish. The story of his conversion is put before us today, not as a matter of historical interest, but as a matter of vital spiritual interest. We are all sinners to a greater or lesser degree. Jesus is approaching each one of us today by means of this very lesson which we have read. Let each one of us try to see what Jesus is like. He is a loving brother who died that we might live, a fellowman who suffered tortures that we might have eternal joy. He was also the Son of God, the God of infinite love. At the same time, let Jesus see us as we really are. Let us expose and confess to him all our earthly weaknesses and injustices against God and neighbor. He will find a remedy for us. He will put us back once more on the straight road to heaven. Today, salvation will come to us and to our house. We will become again true sons of Abraham, true heirs to heaven.
—Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle C, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M.
Visiting a Cemetery: An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from November 1-8; on other days of the year it is a partial indulgence.
Visiting a Church on November 2: A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who, on All Souls' Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.
Praying for the Faithful Departed: A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
- devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead;
- devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Eternal rest. (Manual of Indulgences, fourth edition, 1999)
- To gain a plenary indulgence, in addition to excluding all attachment to sin, even venial sin, it is necessary to perform the indulgent work and fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
- A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but Holy Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
- The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day the work is performed.
- The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary. A plenary indulgence can be acquired only once in the course of the day, a partial indulgence can be acquired multiple times.
- If a visit to a Church or an oratory is required to obtain an indulgence attached to a particular day, this may be accomplished from noon of the preceding day until midnight of the particular day.
Manual of Indulgences, fourth edition, 1999 (Enchridion Indulgentarium)