Liturgy

'GOOD NEWS' for 31st Sunday in 'Ordinary Time'

"The Son of Man came to seek and to find that which was lost.". (Luke 19:1-10)

The reflection for this Sunday's Gospel is by Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ, and is reprinted here with his kind permission. Father Andy is a Jesuit, a theologian and, among his many other roles, the Media Officer for Jesuit Social Services.

I imagine Zacchaeus as a little, comic, lippy man sprung after climbing a tree in order to catch sight of Jesus. For Luke's first readers he was certainly small, but he was also as dangerous to meet as a Bikie Sergeant at Arms. Zacchaeus was responsible for collecting taxes for the hated Roman authorities. That meant paying stand-over merchants to extort money from shopkeepers and villagers and beating them up if they were not cooperative. The Emperor got his cut and Zacchaeus took his, too. Think of Al Capone.liturgy-281016.png

So most people who saw Zacchaeus up a tree would duck or look the other way, not wanting to be noticed. But Jesus looks at him, seeing in him something deeper than his occupation and reputation would suggest. Zacchaeus had put himself out on a limb. Jesus does not chop off the limb but tells him to come down because he wants to eat with him.

As you can imagine, not all those who saw Jesus going off to eat at Zacchaeus' place were happy. Jesus claimed special insight into what the God of Israel wanted, but here he was becoming mates with a fellow who was paid off by the Roman enemies of Israel, and whose goons caused more misery in the town than anyone else. And to add insult to injury, Jesus was going off to dinner with him. Every devout Jew knew that they should eat only with people who were faithful to God. Meals, after all, symbolised the final banquet when God would at home with his faithful people.

In the story Jesus sticks to his guns. He says that Zacchaeus is one of God's people, and that he himself had come to search for the lost. Never short of a word or a promise, Zacchaeus had promised to pay money back with interest to those he has cheated and in addition to give away to the poor half of what he owned. Being accepted by Jesus had changed his whole life, had saved him.

The story reminds us that God sends Jesus to welcome sinners. So Zacchaeus was precisely the person he wanted to meet. No wonder that this is one of Pope Francis' favourite stories: he sees that we are all like Zacchaeus - sinners whom God seeks out and loves. And our lives are changed by God's compassion we can look out compassionately for others too.

This story speaks powerfully to us at Jesuit Social Services where we meet vulnerable young people, some of whom have been in trouble with the police. The media often describe troubled young people as monsters. But God loves each of them and has high hopes for them. In our work we hope that by walking with them, recognising them by name and being compassionate we may help them turn their lives around.

© Andrew Hamilton SJ

SCRAMENT PROGRAMliturgy.jpg

The College Sacrament Program, aligned with Archdiocesan policy, is 'Family-focused, Parish-based and Catholic School supported'.

Families of children in Years 3, 4 and 6 are preparing to celebrate, respectively, the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation in their own 'home' parish.

The knowledge component is also covered in the Religion Curriculum of those classes.

Local Parishes

Some parishes, located near the College, have supplied calendar details for their Sacrament Programs. This information can be accessed via the link to the College website.

Further Information?

COMMUNITY LITURGY

Next Friday our Community Mass will be a combined celebration, prepared by GATE students. At the end of Mass there will be a special blessing for students going on study tours to Italy and Japan. All students, staff, parents and friends are welcome to our community liturgy each Friday. Singing is led by our own Chapel Choir and Primary Singers. For those able to stay, the celebration continues after Mass with coffee in the Café.

If you have any queries about Community Mass please contact Mary-Anne Lumley: Lumley.mary-anne@johnxxiii.edu.au or 9383 0513.

When: Fridays in Term Time
Time: 8:00-8:30am
Where: College Chapel