First Reading: Wisdom11:.22- 12.2
The Book of Wisdom is in three parts: the first section deals with the destinies of the good and the evil; in the second, Wisdom herself speaks in the form of a meditation; finally Israel’s early history is reviewed. It. is here that our reading belongs. The writer uses the ideas in this passage to show the operation of God’s forbearance....
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144: 1-2,8-11, 13-14
The spiritual quality of this psalm is attested by the frequent use of it in the Missal . The psalm is a hymn of praise, described as "one of the most inspiring in the Psalter; it could have been composed only by one who had had a profound experience of God. It is the last of the alphabetical or acrostic psalms in which each verse begins with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. First the greatness of' God, then his compassion are praised. In the third stanza the psalmist strikes a universal note and concludes with the praise of God’s faithfulness and love.
Second Reading: II Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
It is very appropriate as the year draws to a close and Advent approaches, that we should be directed to this early letter of the great apostle with its fervent expectation of the Lord’s Return. It was at Thessalonika, overlooking the northern waters of the Aegean Sea, that Paul established his second European church. In the passage to be read there is a prayer that the Thessalonians will be worthy of their calling, and then with a relevance that applies to all times, he warns against preoccupation with the Lord’s Return, because some of his friends in Thessalonika were so sure of the immediacy of the event that they had ceased to work. Furthermore, what appeared to be a letter forged in name had fired rumours that the great event had taken place.
Gospel: Luke 19: 1-10
We are indebted to Luke alone for the story of Zacchaeus. On their way to Jerusalem, the little band reached Jericho, an important centre in the tax collecting industry of the Roman empire. As a prominent figure — Luke rarely uses names— Zacchaeus was despised by the local population. ln the story of his dramatic conversion, it is noted that Zacchaeus did abandon his calling, but continued to pursue it, a new man in Christ.