Thirty-first Sunday, Year C
You are merciful to all and you overlook people’s sins so that they can repent
In the book of Wisdom we hear, “You are merciful to all and you overlook people’s sins so that they can repent.” If we grasp these words we understand that in a person’s life, a time of mercy precedes a time of judgment. The whole of one’s life has the possibility of repentance.
We see this in spades in the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He was considered by his own people to be a traitor because he collaborated with the Roman invaders. Banned from the temple, the little man of shameless wealth was pushing his way through the unwelcoming crowd. He knew that Jesus was passing though the town and he wanted very much to see him to see what kind of a man Jesus was.
And so the story unfolds ending in the affirmation of salvation and of the Lord’s mission to save what was lost. Jesus’ mission of mercy, commencing with people such as Zacchaeus, continues. The Lord continues to be merciful to us so that we, like Zacchaeus, may repent.
It may be that what happens on an individual basis may happen globally. Although the normal course of events for people is that a time of mercy precedes a time of judgment, it may happen that we are nearing the end of the time of mercy that precedes a definitive global judgment by God.
Let’s listen to the words of Jesus to Saint Faustina: “Write this: before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort:
All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Saviour were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day.
Many people believe this refers to the coming illumination of conscience, or warning, revealed more explicitly in Garabandal. Before this warning Faustina’s vocation from Jesus was to “Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.” Again and again Jesus her urged to “Speak to the world about My mercy ... It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy.”
Let’s finish by listening again to Wisdom, “You are merciful to all and you overlook people’s sins so that they can repent.” Now is the time for repentance, now is the time of mercy. Let us pray for repentance before the day of justice comes upon us.