Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C
September 11, 2022
All of us experience times of being down and out; times that we see our own sinfulness and wonder how God can ever put up with us.
Or how at times we simply forget about Him altogether and turn to our own pleasures for support and yet God is always there for us.
The readings for this Sunday help us to reflect on how much God loves us, and how often He is willing, again and again, to call us back to himself.
Paul writes two letters to Timothy. Recall that Timothy was converted to Christianity during St. Paul's first missionary journey approximately
Paul encourages Timothy by expressing his own unworthiness to be called by God.
St. Paul knows well his past sins, and also his present weaknesses, his doubts and fears; yet he realizes how much God loves him and has called him. God had also called Timothy, and He has called each of us by name at our Baptism.
It is amazing, as Paul points out, that even in those times when we forget God, God will never forget us.
In the first reading, Moses has spent forty days on top of Mount Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments. We all know the story about how the Chosen People became unfaithful as they waited for Moses to return. So they turned to idols, to paganism to replace God.
God tells Moses what the people have done, and that He will destroy the Chosen People and start the whole thing over again.
But Moses intervened for the people, and God says that He will not destroyed the people.
There has always been someone to intercede or pray for us to God, especially in the moments when we have failed God's calling to us.
We relive that same story of turning from God to idols again and again when we turn to our pleasures, our idols and abandon God, but God has sent his son, Jesus, as the new Moses to intercede for us, so that our sins, our waywardness, can be forgiven, and we are called back to God, moments to rejoice.
The Gospel reading gives us three parables about rejoicing when that which was lost is found.
We have the parable of the lost sheep,
The parable of the woman who has lost a coin and finds it.
And the parable of the prodigal son which we all know.
At our baptism we were anointed to be prophet, priest, and king.
We are to make sacrifice for others, we are to pray for others, and we are to rejoice when people find their way to God.
As Jesus always went out to the sinners, we too are called to go out of our way for sinners, for those that society or even ourselves reject.
It's interesting to note that the Pharisees were scandalized by Jesus because He associated with unclean people, sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc.
The Pharisees used to gather their robes tightly around themselves when they were in crowds of people, so that they would not accidentally touch a sinner, an unclean person, and be made unclean.
Perhaps a good question to ask ourselves when we are around people that society sees as unclean or sinful is...
...Are we like the Pharisee, or are we like Christ, who associated with the rejects?
This coming week can be a time that we rejoice because God calls us back and asks once again to make Christ present to others.
Are we willing to go out of our way for others?
Are we willing to sacrifice, to give some of our time, our energy, our money, our mercy and compassion, our listening ear, etc. for others?