Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA:

Zacchaeus was leader of the tax collectors, a man entirely abandoned to greed, whose only goal was the increase of his gains. This was the practice of the tax collectors, although Paul calls it idolatry,4 possibly as being suitable only for those who have no knowledge of God. Since they shamelessly, openly professed this vice, the Lord very justly joined them with the prostitutes, saying to the leaders of the Jews, “The prostitutes and the tax collectors go before you into the kingdom of God.”5 Zacchaeus did not continue to be among them, but he was counted worthy of mercy at Christ’s hands. He calls near those who are far away and gives light to those who are in darkness. read more

Commemoration of the Faithful Departed

Memento Mori 8x8in oil on canvas by Brie Schulze

Though death is something everyone must face, we feel a strong instinctive conviction that it is something unintelligibly negative. The raw ugliness of it could kill our sense of purpose, so forgetting about it would seem to help us simply get on living. While the morose and morbid can become an unhealthy obsession, the fact of our mortality forces the way we understand and live life into perspective. If our capacity for life and activity ends with death, we have to wonder if what we are could somehow be greater than all our activity. Attempting to be happy requires some kind of activity – indeed happiness itself must be the kind of activity which makes existing meaningful and good. If the activity of happiness itself becomes impossible at death, our act of existing would contain an internal contradiction. So if we reject skepticism, and hope to find the happiness that makes sense of our existence, we must also be certain this happiness is possible beyond death. Without that certitude, we are forced to ignore death, flee from it, or thrust ourselves into it prematurely out of despair. read more

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

AMBROSE:

God at times opens the heart through trials. Then the heart becomes so vast that, like the sands of the sea, it cannot be measured. Listen to holy Solomon, who speaks to us of this openness: “Therefore I prayed, and in me prudence was increased. I implored, and the Spirit of wisdom came to me.” So as to receive wisdom from God, he did not ask for riches or noble descendants or power, but he asked for wisdom. And he obtained everything that he did not ask for. For this reason Scripture says that the vastness of his heart was so great that, like the sand of the sea, it could not be measured. So that you would understand this greatness, he consciously says of himself, “Write it in the vastness of your heart.” Therefore, one who has wisdom should not keep it hidden, not even for an instant, but should celebrate it in public. He should proclaim everywhere, with authority, what prudence inspires in him. read more