31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 30

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The first reading is difficult to understand, taken out of context. The author wants to draw a contrast between God’s providence for his people on their journey to the Promised Land and the afflictions imposed on their enemies. We’re not supposed to moralize, but just concentrate on one side of this equation. “You have mercy on all,” the reading insists, “and you overlook people’s sins.” 
In the gospel, we find Jesus acting in precisely this way in his encounter with the tax collector, Zacchaeus. Jesus has mercy on Zacchaeus and seems to overlook his sins.
From our second reading we can conclude that there is a lot going on in the Greek city of Thesalonica. This passage is taken from Paul’s second letter to this community, early in his ministry. Paul is trying to counteract the pagan influences that are causing so much confusion and anxiety among the people. One of these misconceptions, possibly communicated in a forged letter purported to be from Paul, speaks of the imminent second coming of Christ. Paul is writing to calm the disturbance and reassure the congregation of the authentic truths of Christian belief.
—Walter Modrys SJ

This week’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.

The New York Times article that Fr. Modrys references, Apocalypse, Now What? by Matthew Thompson, can be found here at nytimes.com.