31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
In our familiar Gospel story of Zacchaeus, Jesus does something that might entirely change how you see Jesus' life, and what that means about how you are called here and now to live as disciples of Jesus! In our Gospel today, we hear that Jesus came to Jericho and "intended to pass through the town"...Jesus intended to pass through the town, but when he sees Zacchaeus he changes his mind and decides to stay. For Jesus, following his Father's will didn't look like having a checklist in his head of every single pre-planned-from-all-eternity thing that had to happen on that particular day to achieve our salvation...Jesus changed his mind and his plans during his days with the nudges of the Holy Spirit (and in this case the Holy Spirit moved him to change his plans and have dinner with Zacchaeus - and this interaction changed Zacchaeus' life).
God's plan to change the world is not primarily through heady knowledge of theology, nor is it primarily through large-scale events that normal folk like us are unable to bring about. God's plan to change the world is to change it primarily through normal, personal interactions, when we as individuals (as the hands and feet of Christ here and now), inspired by the Spirit, reach out and touch the lives of particular people that God has us come in contact with. Personal interaction, personal invitation - that's how Jesus lived and that's how we are called to live, too!
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Why is it that so many people (including many of your children whom you raised in the Church and brought to the sacraments and taught to be generous and to care for others) have fallen and continue to fall away from our incredible Catholic Faith and belief in Jesus Christ? The Church has three jobs: to evangelize, to celebrate the sacraments, and to care for the poor. These are three legs of a stool; if any one of them is missing or lacking, the stool will tip and fall. I would propose that we as a Church, in the midst of a total culture change from a Christendom time/culture to an Apostolic time/culture, have unintentionally lost the "evangelization" footing of our identity as a Church. What we see now is people naturally falling away from the faith because they (even unconsciously) sense that something is lacking in the current lived practice of the Catholic faith in America...and something would be lacking: our essential call as followers of Jesus Christ to personally witness to Him - to evangelize, to speak about the good news. How did that happen and what are we called to do about it now? Listen to hear my thoughts and to be invited on board for where our parishes will be focusing our efforts into the future!