Friday, November 2, 2007
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 19,1-10.
He 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 to him, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all 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."
It is very significant and appropriate that after the Solemnity of All Saints, the Liturgy has us celebrate the Commemoration of all of the Faithful Departed. The "communion of saints", which we profess in the Creed, is a reality that is constructed here below, but is fully made manifest when we will see God "as he is" (I Jn 3: 2).
It is the reality of a family bound together by deep bonds of spiritual solidarity that unites the faithful departed to those who are pilgrims in the world. It is a mysterious but real bond, nourished by prayer and participation in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
In the Mystical Body of Christ the souls of the faithful meet, overcoming the obstacle of death; they pray for one another, carrying out in charity an intimate exchange of gifts.
In this dimension of faith one understands the practice of offering prayers of suffrage for the dead, especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, memorial of Christ's Pasch which opened to believers the passage to eternal life.
Dear friends, may the traditional visit of these days to the tombs of our dear departed be an occasion to fearlessly consider the mystery of death and to cultivate that constant vigilance which prepares us to meet it serenely. The Virgin Mary, Queen of Saints… will help us.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 1st November 2005)