The Great Mercy of God

Sunday readings in brief 24 C

Ex 32:7-11,13-14; Ps 50(51); 1 Tim 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-32

The Great Mercy of God

Dear friends, today is the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time C. All three readings talk about the wonderful mercy of God. “That God is Merciful” is the core of the Gospel message brought to us by Christ. The mercy of God is the expression of God’s love for us.

In the first reading, we note another important aspect of God’s mercy, which is the role of Moses. Moses was a leader chosen by God to lead his people. God consulted him on all matters regarding the people of Israel. When Moses left the people to go and meet God and overstayed on the mountain, the people felt abandoned and led by Aron they made for themselves a calf of molten gold as their God. God was angry with the people and wanted to wipe out these ungrateful people, who he had saved from the hand of Pharaoh.

God consulted with Moses with a proposal to wipe out the people and make him a great nation. Moses, as a good leader, interceded for the people sighting the promises God had made to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The character of Moses is a great lesson for all those who have been given the role of leaders. The job of a leader is to intercede and protect the people he leads and not to look for his own benefit and prosperity.

In the second reading, St Paul talks about how God’s mercy changed his life. Because of his ignorance, Paul, then known as Soul, persecuted the followers of Christ. God is always willing to rescue us from our ignorance and make us the instruments of his love for others. Many people persecute others because of ignorance and misguided ideologies like Paul did. Christ came to show the light to the world the darkness of unbelieve and ignorance of true values may vanish.

In the Gospel reading, we listen to one of the greatest parables of love and mercy of God ever told. Jesus tells three consecutive stories about the love of God. The parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin talks about the joy of receiving back what was lost. God is always happy to receive us back. Through the Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation, we are restored to the love of God and neighbour. The third parable is about the lost two sons. Out of ignorance about the father’s love, the younger son left his father and went to live loose life until he started suffering. Many baptized people stop going to Church and for a short while seem to be enjoying life, only for things to turn bad.

When we are far from our Father, we may feel free during the first few days, months, or years but eventually, the prolonged absence of the love of the Father will make us want. The elder son may have stayed with his father but he too was lost. He did not count his father’s wealth as his but lamented because he was not given anything to enjoy with his friends. He was bitter with his younger brother and did not want to rejoice at his return. This made him lose to his father as well.

Dear friends, sometimes we look down upon the people whose sins are publicly exposed. Maybe, like the elder son, we have loads of bitterness and unhappiness inside that is not expressed. This can eat us from within and one day it will explode. I invite us to contemplate the mercy of God and not hesitate to ask him for forgiveness whenever we go against his will.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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