In this last weekend of October, the liturgy focuses on the forgiveness and love of Jesus for sinners. One of many whom He forgives with love is Zacchaeus, the chief publican of Jericho, a rich and influential man hated and despised by his neighbors who felt blackmailed by him. Jesus discovers him wanting to see Him climb on a tree; He looks up at him and says: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house” (Lk 19:5). Divine forgiveness leads Zacchaeus to conversion. God’s forgiveness is free; it is not so much because of the conversion that God forgives us, but rather the opposite. God’s mercy moves us to gratitude and to respond to His calling. Jesus passes through our lives on that occasion and calls us by name. Something curious is that perhaps Zacchaeus had never seen nor heard of Jesus, yet he was interested to know who He was. Jesus, on the other hand, did know Zacchaeus even the miseries of his life. He knew how he had gotten rich and how hated and outcast by his people he was. For this reason, he went through Jericho to get him out of that well: “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk 19:10). The Master’s encounter with the publican radically changed his life. Just like this man, I believe that Jesus continues to pass through our lives and calls us by name to conversion.
This Tuesday, November 1st, is the Solemnity of All Saints, an important feast day and a day of obligation. I invite you to celebrate this feast day with joy by participating in the Eucharist. It is a day to meditate on our sanctification. The Mass times are as follow 6:30 am, 9:00 am, 5:00 pm in English, and 7:00 pm in Spanish.
On Wednesday, November 2nd, we celebrate the commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Souls Day. It is a day to pray for the soul of our relatives and friends who have already departed but have left an emptiness in our families. Therefore, let us ask God to have mercy on their souls. We will have our regular daily mass schedule, except for an additional Mass in Spanish at 7:00 pm.
As you all know, next Tuesday, November 8th, is Election Day. It is an important day for our state; I encourage you to go and exercise the right to vote. It is our duty as citizens; logically, those who can vote should do so. I ask those who are not able to vote, to join us in prayer. The bishops of the state of Virginia always guide us from faith to make better decisions when casting a vote. I encourage you to visit the Virginia Catholic Conference website www.vacatholic.org where you can find more resources on this duty and if you have any questions about it.
Finally, this weekend we will recognize our brother Knights of Columbus’s work in our parish, At the 10:00 am mass, they will have a place reserved for them and their families. In our parish, they are a great support in all aspects; material, moral and spiritual. Whenever we need them, they are there to help us. So this coming Sunday, after the 10:00 am mass, we will pray the Holy Rosary for this intention. At the same time, I invite all those men to join this precious movement of Catholic men. May God bless you for all of this.
I hope you have a blessed weekend.