“A moment can change a lifetime “ by Bridget O’Connell FMA

 Sunday Reflection                   31 Sunday of the Year

On the feast of Mary Immaculate, December 8, 1841, while vesting for Mass,

Don Bosco heard the sacristan sending away a poor young boy who had sneaked in to the sacristy in order to get warm. “Here, call the boy back,” said Don Bosco, “he’s my friend.” The boy came over to Don Bosco.

Don Bosco asked, “What is your Name?”

“Bartholomew Garelli” the boy answered.

How old are you Bartholomew?

“Sixteen,” answered the boy.

“Can you serve Mass?”


“What do you do?”

“I am a bricklayer,” he responded.

“Your mother and father?” Don Bosco continued.

“I am alone,” the boy responded sadly.

“Can you sing?’” Don Bosco asked.

“Yes I can sing,” exclaimed Bartholomew laughing.

Don Bosco invited him to stay for Mass.

After Mass Don Bosco told the boy, “Next Sunday, you bring your friends here”.

That encounter began Don Bosco’s worldwide ministry of showing the face of God’s love and mercy to the young.

Our gospel today is the well known story of Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.   When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. “…….Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, for the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

There is a sense of urgency in each of the stories- an encounter, something new begins to happen and in that moment there is an opportunity for goodness to come into existence.

In the first reading from Wisdom we read “You are merciful to all because you can do all things”

Mercy is a moment that can change a lifetime

This is the change that St Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians prays for us today:

“We pray continually that God will make you worthy of his call and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness”.