By Fr. Andrew Kelly
TWENTY FOURTH SUNDAY ORDINAL TIME – SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
There are religious people who simply cannot stand the thought that God is eternally, relentlessly merciful and joyful toward human beings. God will not rest until every human being is joyfully, securely snug in God’s merciful bosom.
Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 15:1-32) describes the situation.
Tax collectors and sinners were head over heels in love with Jesus’ merciful God. The Pharisees and scribes were abhorred. They resentfully grumbled and sneeringly complained: “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke’s parables illustrate God’s mercy. A shepherd searches for a lost sheep. A woman upends her house in search of a lost coin. A father sits waiting patiently hoping against hope his wandering son will soon return home.
The lost sheep and coin is found. The son returns home. The shepherd, the woman and the father explode in joy that the lost is now found.
It is doubtful the Pharisees and scribes were ever convinced that Jesus’ God is a God of mercy.
Are 2013 communities convinced, or do they even care, that through God’s mercy, the lost are still found? Next Sunday will be an indication. How much joy explodes when the community celebrates: “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)
Scripture Readings for Sept. 15-22
Ex 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Tm 1:12-17
1 Tm 2:1-8
1 Tm 3:1-13
1 Tm 3:14-16
1 Tm 4:12-16
1 Tm 6:2c-12
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13
1 Tm 2:1-8
Lk 16:1-13 or LK 16:10-13