“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.” (Luke 19:10) These words of Jesus refer to Zacchaeus, a tax collector. The Jewish people at the time would have considered tax collectors as unrepentant sinners. They cheated people out of money to make themselves wealthy. The judgment of God would have been severe on the unrepentant sinner. Jesus showed Zacchaeus that even though he had sinned seriously against God and his neighbor by stealing and cheating, he could be forgiven and welcomed back into the community of believers.
Jesus has the same message for us today. There are people in the world who objectively have lived a life of serious, unrepentant sin. It is tempting for us, like the pharisees, to condemn them…to write them off as lost causes. Jesus shows us another way to treat those who we deem to be unworthy of God’s love. He shows us to meet them where they are at and accompany them to a place of mercy and conversion. How can a hardened sinner repent unless he is given an opportunity to encounter unconditional love through an encounter with Jesus?
This past Friday, November 1st, we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints. These are the men and women who are already in heaven. They have accepted fully the love and mercy of God offered through Jesus Christ. They do not have any desire for anything other than the will of God and they do not have any attachments to anything other than God. They do not have any attraction to sin or any desire for sin. This ought to be the desire of every Christian, both for ourselves, and for everyone else.
On Saturday, November 2nd, we celebrated the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. On this day, the Church prays for all the dead. Why? Because many of us at the moment of death are not yet ready to turn away from all attachments to sin and patterns of sin in our lives. We believe in God and have accepted His mercy offered through Jesus on the cross, but our orientation is not yet 100% on God and always doing His will. Salvation has already been won for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross. We have already accepted this gift of salvation, but we still have to be purified of all attachments to sin.
This is why we continue to pray for purification of all the souls of the faithful departed throughout the entire month on November. Every day, the names of those who are written in the book of remembrance here at St. Scholastica will be offered to God for purification. Let us together give thanks to God for sending us Jesus as the source of forgiveness of sin and as the one who grants us eternal life. “Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him/her. May he/she rest in peace, may his/her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen (Funeral Rite of Committal)