Pastor’s Weekly Message 10-29-22

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
I have a fondness for the main character in today’s Gospel reading. Zacchaeus is curious about Jesus, and he does not let anything stand in his way, not his stature, not the crowds, not his somewhat scorned social status as a tax collector working for the Roman occupiers. Unable to muscle through the crowds, or see over them, he climbs a tree. It is a creative solution, and indeed it brings him to Jesus’ attention. Jesus knows his occupation and the harm he has done, wittingly or unwittingly, in his community. But Jesus also knows that the path to conversion is through engagement. He honors Zacchaeus, entering his home and inviting him to pursue better things, and Zacchaeus whole heartedly embraces this conversion.
I think our readings this weekend have two vital reminders for us, especially as we approach what we call “The Holidays.”. In the next two months we will have many occasions for celebration, and it is a special time for gathering together, for traditions, and for, we hope, much joy. The story of Zacchaeus reminds us that the road to conversion, to changing hearts and minds, begins with respect and engagement. This provides a basis for us to have more intimate or difficult conversations, to heal old wounds or try to set someone we love on a more positive path.
In the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, we are reminded that we are tiny grains of sand in the scope of the history of the universe, but we are nonetheless deeply and personally loved by God because He Made us. But God did not just make us, or the people who think like us, or who worship Him in the same way. So when we consider how we are to treat one another, or how we are to care for God’s creation, we do well to begin with the knowledge that everything in creation is equally loved and cherished by our loving God.
I wish you and your loved ones blessings for good health and great hope. Please continue to pray for peace,

Fr. Paul

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