Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to all of us every Sunday thought the Liturgy of the Word every Sunday. Let us remember the Gospel of Luck 19:1-10 about Zacchaeus and his encounter with Jesus. Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, would have been held in low esteem, if not contempt, by the people of that time. When it came to Jesus, though, Zacchaeus was not concerned about people’s opinion of him. We are told that

“he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus.”

I want to share with you some information on the conclusion of the Synod and the

Holy Father’s homily on the last two gospels we heard for the past two Sundays.

VATICAN CITY — Concluding a monthlong gathering of Catholic bishops from the Amazon that drew an unprecedented level of criticism from conservative quarters in the church, Pope Francis warned Oct. 27 against Christians who think they are so righteous they wind up worshipping themselves.

In a homily during a Mass closing the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops for the nine-nation

Amazon region, the pontiff said, "the root of every spiritual error … is believing ourselves to be righteous."

"We, all of us, are in need of salvation," said Francis. "To consider ourselves righteous is to leave God, the only righteous one, out in the cold."

Some prominent conservative Catholics had become increasingly vocal in criticism of the

Amazon synod during the three weeks of the gathering, expressing concern about both its consideration of ways the church might better minister in the region and its inclusion of

indigenous symbols in worship.

Two conservative activists even filmed themselves stealing indigenous statues from a church near the Vatican and tossing them into Rome's Tiber River. Francis later apologized for the act of vandalism, telling the synod prelates that as the bishop of Rome he wished to ask forgiveness.

The pope reflected in his Oct. 27 homily on a passage from Luke's Gospel, where Jesus

offers a parable comparing the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee, a Jewish religious leader, thank God that he is "not like the rest of humanity." The tax

collector, a wealthy man, asks God to be merciful "to me, a sinner."

The Pharisee, the pontiff said, "is focused only on himself."

"He ends up praising himself instead of praying," said the pope. "He stands in the temple of God, but the one he worships is himself."

"Worship of self carries on hypocritically with its rites and 'prayers,' forgetting the true

worship of God which is always expressed in the love of one's neighbor," said Francis. "Even Christians who pray and go to Mass on Sunday are subject to this religion of the self."

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