Autor: Fr. Richard Gill, LC | Fuente: Sacerdos Institute 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
September 16, 2007. Homily. Readings: Exodus 32:711, 1314; 1 Timothy 1:1217; Luke 15:132.
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C Readings: Exodus 32: 711,
1314; 1 Timothy 1: 1217; Luke 15: 132 Author: Fr. Richard
THEME OF THE READINGS The readings this week present us
with the theme of the mercy and goodness of God
to his people, despite their sinfulness and rejection of him.
God is rich in mercy. In the reading from Exodus
we see the hardness of heart of the people who
have been led out of slavery. While the Covenant is
being given to Moses on the mountain, the people make
for themselves a false god to worship. Yet God relents
in his anger when Moses intercedes on their behalf. St.
Paul in writing to Timothy reminds him of what a
great sinner he was, but for God´s mercy and grace
and patience. The Alleluia verse speaks of the great hope
we have not because of our virtue or holiness, but
because of the goodness and the mercy of God.
Gospel of Luke offers us the beautiful parables of the
mercy of God in which we must put all our
DOCTRINAL MESSAGE We may wonder how it was possible for
the Israelites to be so blatant in their rejection of
God and their forgetfulness of his saving power in leading
them out of slavery that they could construct a false
idol even as Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments. But
it is really just the pattern of our own willfulness
and ignorance of God in the face of his goodness
to us. We are really the same as them, having
been blessed so much by him. It is because St.
Paul is conscious of his sinfulness and his absolute need
for God and his grace at all times that he
is able to remain truly humble.
We must never forget
the reality of sin, never calling it by another name,
but face it honestly and squarely, like St. Paul. The
worst thing we can do is lose the sense of
sin, to consider ourselves justified before God when we are
truly in need of his mercy. St. Paul was clear
about himself, and we must have a similar humility about
our situation. Otherwise, we will not pray for his mercy.
Gospel reveals the loving heart of the Father who does
not seek to punish, but to reconcile and bring us
home to his banquet table and restore our dignity. He
is the shepherd who leaves the 99 unattended to tirelessly
search for us in the wilderness and who rejoices and
carries us home tenderly when he finds us. He is
like the woman who does not cease to search until
she finds that missing silver piece, and when she finds
it, she is filled with joy.
He is the merciful
Father of the Prodigal Son who, though having been rejected
and betrayed by his own son, nonetheless is worried only
to "get him back alive." Even though the son is
not perfectly contrite (in fact he was desperate and humiliated,
starving to death), he receives him back and restores him
to his place as a son with all the rights
and dignity he had before. Despite the protests of the
elder son he orders the music, the fatted calf, and
the celebration, because in that reconciliation, the son has come
back to life.
This is the heart of God toward
us. He does not look to punish or to make
us suffer, but to celebrate our homecoming with us. He
does not hold our sins over us, but rather rejoices
that we are back safe with him. He does not
make us suffer any more than our sins have already
made us suffer because he no longer considers us slaves,
We need to live in this perspective
of the mercy of God, for it is the way
God demonstrates his love for us. He does not expect
us to be perfect in every aspect, but to allow
him to forgive and reconcile us to his love.
APPLICATIONS Are we comfortable with the mercy of God? John Paul
II used to say, especially in Dives in Misericordia, that
we live in a world that is afraid of the
mercy of God. We are afraid of that mercy because
it changes us, it calls us to reform our lives
and live from now on in gratitude as sons. We
seem to want to continue to live in slavery to
our sins and passions rather than with the dignity and
status as sons of God.
We need prayer to penetrate
into the greatness and beauty of this love of God
which is shown in his mercy. It is hard for
us to conceive of a God who loves us so
much that he goes in search of us, a God
who loved the world so much that he sent his
only Son, that the world might not perish but have
eternal life. Only prayer before the Crucifix and before
the Blessed Sacrament helps us understand this great gift of
God´s love and mercy. How can God be so good
Jesus is the manifestation of the love
of God. When we were in rebellion, estranged from God,
he came down among us to save us from our
sins, to show us in the most compelling way (through
his death on the Cross) how much God would do
to win our love and gratitude. We must live every
day in thanksgiving to him for such a wonderful, unmerited
gift. Every time we gather for the Eucharistic Celebration, we
are living out that song of thanksgiving for his mercy
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