Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend at the 12 noon mass, Bishop Estevez will officially install me as pastor of Assumption. As I have said, it is very good to be home! I want to thank you for the warm welcome home and for all the love and support you have shown me. As we continue this journey together I look forward to working with you as we strive to proclaim the gospel and build up the Kingdom of God! Please know of my prayers for you each and every day, and please pray for Fr. Eric and I as we strive with your help to serve the needs of our community. May Almighty God bless and guide us in the many years to come!

As we have just passed All Hallows Eve, and I am sure that so many of our children enjoyed a night of trick-or-treating, I would like to talk about Zombies….bear with me…and no, I am not talking about the walking Zombies with their faces glued to their smartphones! A little warning that this movie would be a bit much for young ones.

A brief caveat, I only watched this movie because a Sister on twitter recommended it and said that St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body could be seen as an underlying theme throughout the movie. This was not the intention of the writers of this film, I am sure.

In the movie Warm Bodies, we go on a journey with a Zombie who recognizes that he is a Zombie and we hear his inner monologue as he shares the story of his current state. As with Zombies in general, he is not accepted by humanity, I don’t think I need to explain why. Through a chance encounter, whatever was still human in him falls in love with a human woman. What unfolds is a story out of how an encounter with love can transform the human heart and restore our humanity.

Jump to today’s gospel. Zacchaeus is a tax collector who, because of his profession, is shunned by his community. Yet there is something in his heart that still yearns for love and acceptance despite his current state. He finds this love in the person of Jesus Christ and this encounter transforms his life and restores the fullness of his humanity.

When we encounter Christ, I mean truly encounter him, we never walk away the same. The love of Christ transforms and renews us and helps us to recognize not only our own dignity but the dignity of others.

As we have celebrated All Saints and All Souls, we remember those who have gone before us, especially those who exemplified the faith. May we never forget the saying, “every saint had a past, every sinner has a future.” As St. John Paul II reminds us, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”

On another note, Save the Date: Camino Presentation. We have an upcoming Camino April 19- May 3, 2020. We will have an informational meeting on Friday, November 8, 2019, at 6:00 PM in Kohls Hall with Rui and Yoli from Ultreia y Suseia who will share with us the Camino experience, the upcoming Camino and answer any questions you may have. Come and join us!

Fr. Jason

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