Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy,
This past Tuesday, our community was blessed to host Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin’s presentation of his vision for the faithful people of the Archdiocese of Newark, “Forward In Faith Together: Our Road Ahead.”
In the name of the parish staff, I thank you all who attended. I thank the Holy Name Society for leading the hospitality and helping the staff of the Archdiocese facilitate what was needed. I thank God, as your pastor, for all of you because our community is indeed a very welcoming place for all. And I keep praying that we continue to be so. This small kind of gesture of being welcoming is the fruit and expression of our right relationship with God. The saying “actions speak louder than words” is so correct. If our heart is in tune with God, without being aware of it, all good things come out of us naturally. We don’t have to say it nor seek approval from others. I tell you that “God who sees in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:6). That’s humility!
This weekend’s gospel reading is once again calling us to ponder more upon humility, continuing what we talked about with last weekend’s readings at Mass. If we look closely at the story of Zacchaeus being called by Jesus to come down from the tree, we see how Zacchaeus did so immediately, without hesitation. He accepted Jesus’ offer to stay at his house. He was so ready to change his life and be a better person. He said: “Behold, half of my possession, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I shall repay it four times over.” What does that tell us? We may do well to examine ourselves and find out if we had been honest enough to admit whether or not we were like Zacchaeus. The truth is, brothers and sisters: we are invited by Jesus every time we come to Mass. And just because we have said “yes” to Jesus’ invitation by coming to Mass, it doesn’t mean that we did the same thing that Zacchaeus did. So, let us ask ourselves if we really do have a conversion of heart? Or are we like those other people in the gospel who grumble and feel being self-righteous and looking down on others?
Brothers and sisters, it is time to wake up! It is not too late yet to change for the better. It is time to straighten up all our crooked ways. Let us ask God to help us stay away from falling into the trap of the sin of pride, which is the root of all evil. Instead, we strive to be not full of ourselves, humble enough to admit our faults and failures and being sensitive to the feelings and needs of people around us.
God bless us all!