Holy Spirit Conference Mass Celebrants
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco, CA
Left to Right:
Deacon Ernie von Emster: Assisting
Fr. Armando Lopez
Fr. Ray Reyes: Main Celebrant
Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Fr. Ken Barker
September 1, 2023 1st Friday Mass Livestream from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Redwood City, CA
REFLECTION FOR TUESDAY,
NOVEMBER 21, 2023
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
THE BENEVOLENT AND FORGIVING MERCY OF GOD FOR SINNERS
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. Lk. 19:1-3
Our gospel reference today formed part of the conversion story of the tax-collector Zacchaeus. As the chief tax-collector in Jericho, he was a man of much wealth and few friends. Since he worked for the Romans and extracted more tax money than required by the law, he was probably hated by the Jews who considered all tax-collectors as public sinners.
On that journey to Jericho, Jesus recognized Zacchaeus for who he was - a lost sinner in need of a Savior. Even with his material wealth, Zaccheaus was internally poor and in need. And it was this spiritual poverty he was experiencing that led him to seek out Jesus with much determination.
In his spiritual poverty he was determined to see the kind of man Jesus was but ended up seeing the kind of God Jesus is. Zacchaeus never imagined that Jesus would offer to come to his home that day. He climbed the tree to get a glimpse of Jesus because he felt a strong desire to know Jesus.
Since he was physically wealthy, it seems clear that he no longer was satisfied in life simply because of a comfortable lifestyle. Something was missing, and he couldn't help but know that Jesus held the answer. So, Zacchaeus did what some may have thought unusual. He climbed a tree to be able to see Jesus.
When Jesus got to the tree, He stopped, looked up at Zacchaeus, and called him down, stating that He was going to stay at Zacchaeus' home. Jesus was able to sense the need within the heart of Zacchaeus. Hearts that are poor, in need, and open are very attractive to Jesus. He never misses the opportunity to come to humble souls like this.
Jesus' response lets us see how God's grace worked in Zacchaeus to lead him from idle curiosity to repentance, conversion, and the making of restitution. The encounter of Jesus and Zacchaeus emphasizes the fact that such a conversion can only result from a person fully receiving the love, acceptance, and grace of a merciful God.
As Christians, we need to accept the Divine invitation to repentance. We need to love others in spite of their sins, as Jesus loves us. Jesus loved Zacchaeus a great sinner and by that love, Zacchaeus was transformed. Just as Jesus loved Zacchaeus, even though he was a public sinner, so we must love others in spite of their sins. We also need to be set free from selfishness and choose generosity: Zacchaeus was changed from being greedy to being generous, from selfishness to selflessness.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that you and you alone have the ability to draw Jesus to yourself. You can do this by looking at your need for Him. Do not hide it. Climb the figurative tree by which you will be able to look for Jesus and, more importantly, by which Jesus can see your manifest desire for Him. As you express your need for Him, know that He will be compelled, by His unshakable love and mercy, to come to you and to stay with you in the house of your soul. And when He does, be ready and willing to abandon all that has been a hindrance to your meeting with Christ in the past.
Lord Jesus, You are always aware of every heart that longs for You. You never ignore those who desire You in their life. Please help me to see my own interior needs and struggles and to see You as the only source of fulfillment in life. I commit myself to seeking You out, dear Lord. And as You come to me, I commit to abandon all that has kept me from You in the past. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day
As a lay organization, the mission of the Charismatic Renewal is:
- To help all people come to know the love of God in their lives as demonstrated through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
- To help our brothers and sisters respond to God's love by loving God in return through a commitment to serve Christ and His Church.
- To assist them to listen and follow the movement of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.
- To help our brothers and sisters recognize the ministry that God has called them to, and accept the gifts that God desires to bestow upon them for His work in our Church and in our world.
- To lead them to a New Life offered to us by the Holy Spirit.