Tuesday, November 18 ~ Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin;
Dedication of Saint Peter Basilica and Saint Paul Basilica, Rome
Holy Gospel: Luke 19:1-10 At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Meditation: What would you do – how would you react – if Jesus Christ knocked on your door and said, “I must stay at your house today”? Would you be excited or embarrassed? Jesus often “dropped-in” at unexpected times and he often visited the “uninvited” — the poor, the lame, and even public sinners like Zacchaeus, the tax collector! Tax collectors were despised and treated as outcasts, no doubt because they over-charged people and accumulated great wealth at the expense of others. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was much hated by all the people. Why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home? Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and in his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible. He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his goods to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for fraud. Zacchaeus’ testimony included more than words. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine. The Lord is always ready to make his home with us. Do you make room for him in your heart, your home, and in every area of your life?
Prayer (Saint Rose Philipine Duchesne): Almighty God, who filled the heart of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne with charity and missionary zeal, and gave her the desire to make you known among all peoples, grant us to follow her way and fill us with that same love and zeal to extend your Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer (Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul): Defend your Church, O Lord, by the protection of the holy Apostles, that, as she received from them the beginnings of her knowledge of things divine, so through them she may receive, even to the end of the world, an increase in heavenly grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Folks, each of us has been invited – and that invitation “to climb down from that tree” comes from no one other than Jesus Christ. He invites us to come down from that tree and embrace Him, and in doing so bring positive changes to our lives. Now is the time to come down from that tree. What’s holding you back? Simply say: “Here I am, Lord…I have come to do your will.”
About this Dedication: The whole Church celebrates today the dedication of the two great Roman basilicas of St. Peter at the Vatican and of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls. The basilica of St. Peter stands on the site of the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, where stood Nero’s circus. It was here that St. Peter was executed. Recent excavations have shown that the present basilica which, in the seventeenth century replaced the ancient Constantinian basilica, was built over the tomb of St. Peter, just as the previous basilica. It was consecrated by Urban VIII on November 18, 1626. St. Paul-outside-the-Walls, situated at the other end of the city on the Ostian Way, is built near the place St. Paul was martyred. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1823 and was rebuilt in sumptuous fashion by Gregory XVI and Pius IX and consecrated by the latter on December 10, 1854. The celebration of the anniversary of these two dedications has been kept, nevertheless, on November 18.