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24th Sunday In Ordinary Time

24th Sunday – C

Dear friends in Christ,

 

Exodus is the second book of the Bible which records the dramatic relationship between the faithful God and his ungrateful people who loved to complain. Indeed, from the first moment of their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Jewish people never ceased to complain: that the pursuing Egyptians were going to kill them; that they didn’t have enough to eat; that the manna was dull in taste; that they had no meat, no water; and to the end of the journey, when they were about to enter the land of promise, they complained that the inhabitants there were too much for them.

Today’s First reading tells that while Moses was on Mt. Sinai, the Israelites complained that he had abandoned them. So they decided to make a golden calf and called it God. Thus they provoked God and sinned. God was about to destroy them, but when Moses begged, God forgave.

The story of Exodus foreshadowed what Jesus would later teach and do. The three   parables in today’s Gospel are about God who is in constant search for his lost children. They are part of the basic understanding and memory of Christians about God and the keys to how Christians view God.

However, these parables leave us a question: if mercy is a central message of Jesus, why is it not the point by which people who are not Christians would recognize who we are? Because we fail to do what Jesus expects. The message of the Gospel is always a two-sided message: Jesus came not only to reveal the Father’s forgiveness, but also sent us as agents of reconciliation; he came to bring peace, but called us to be peacemakers; he came to seek out the lost, but also asked us to welcome the poor and the outcasts.

There is a beautiful ad on TV, “The Wounded Warrior”, sowing a fellow soldier in the battlefield carrying a wounded fellow soldier on his back to safety. It is the image of the Good Shepherd carrying the lost sheep on his shoulder. It is said that humankind’s deepest need and highest achievement is mercy. Stop complaining, but start proclaiming the mercy of God!

Fr. Joe