Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend we welcome Father Bill Taylor as we celebrate the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The Gospel passage from Luke is the story of Zacchaeus.  He was a tax collector and not too popular with people for this reason.  He is up in a sycamore tree, apart from the rest of the crowd, because he is short and wants to see Jesus as he passes by.  Jesus notices him and says, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”   Upon hearing this, people of the town become upset and begin to grumble because Jesus is associating with a sinner.  They fail to understand his compassion and mercy.  Sometimes, we, too grumble when we think others are receiving preferential treatment and we are overlooked.  We need to remind ourselves, that Jesus, who is God, has a preferential option for the poor, the sinner, those treated unjustly, and those on the fringes of society.  Our God does not distance himself from them, nor does he banish them from his midst.  Rather, our God reaches out to them and extends his love, mercy, and forgiveness.  We must do the same.   In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us pray in thanksgiving for the ways in which God has shown mercy to us.  And let us extend that same mercy to others.    


Don’t forget that Tuesday is a Holy Day!  It is the Solemnity of All Saints, a feast dedicated to all who have attained heaven, whether or not they have been officially canonized as saints.  They are often referred to as the “Church triumphant.”  Each time we profess our faith in the Creed, we state our belief in the Communion of Saints.  We are most aware that we are united with the saints (and angels) when we celebrate Eucharist.  Let us together celebrate our joy in this great Communion of the Body of Christ: all who have attained heaven along with all of us, the Faithful on earth, who will one day join them in the heavenly realm.  Please note that there is both a morning and an evening Mass on November 1.  See the information in today’s bulletin.


There is no Morning Mass scheduled for November 2.  However, Evening Prayer celebrating the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed will be celebrated that evening at 6:30 PM.  Most of us know that feast by the title, All Souls Day.  Please join us for prayer that evening.


Our annual Liturgy of the Remembrance of the Dead” will take place on Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 PM.  On that day we will recall, by name, all those who have died this past year and whose funerals were celebrated at Saint John Paul II Parish.  At this writing, among our beloved dead, there are 30 individuals whom we will remember in  a special way with a lighted candle placed at the baptismal font.  Please mark your calendar and join us in prayer that evening.


Last week was Mission Sunday.  If you forgot your envelope or were not in town to make a contribution, please place it in next week’s collection.  We will send in all contributions in two weeks.


The Fall Craft Show and Bazaar takes place next Saturday from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM.  Please make it a point to stop by, shop, eat lunch, buy some baked goods, and return or buy some raffle tickets.  This is a fundraiser for the parish.  Proceeds from the ticket sales are designated toward improvements to the parish kitchen (so, buy and sell lots of raffle tickets).  The remaining proceeds from the bazaar will go to the parish for operating expenses.


Next Sunday begins vocation awareness week.  We pray in a particular way for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life. We also pray for all who are discerning their vocation in life, including marriage, and the generous single life.  We also pray for all of us in our particular vocation to live out faithfully this extension of our baptismal call.  If you have a vocation story you would like to share with us, please let me know.


My article was written two days before Father Jim and I left on the Year of Mercy Pilgrimage to Rome with Bishop Cistone, Father Richard Jozwiak, and many members from our diocese and beyond.  We will be praying for you each day at Mass.  Please pray for safe return travel for all of us.


Blessings on your week!

Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ