Sunday, October 01, 2017

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year - A 2017

Today’s Gospel speaks about two sons.
Both of them are far from perfect.

The first  son seems like he is a train wreck waiting to happen.
He is disrespectful to his father and at first refuses to follow his request but eventually relents and does what he is asked.

The second son responds to his father respectfully and outwardly he seems like the good kid but in the end he goes back on his word and never does what his father asked of him

The son who eventually did what the father represents the tax collectors and prostitutes  and sinners of Jesus’ time.

Yes, at first they seemed like train wrecks but the love and acceptance they felt from Jesus turned them around and won them over.

Everyone thought they were lost causes but Jesus knew better and throughout the gospel he made a special effort to reach to sinners….  

When you read the gospels it becomes crystal clear that Jesus had a special place in his heart for the broken, for those who didn't fit in, or people who kept making mistakes.  Let's review

Luke 15:7

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Mark 2:17

And Jesus said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Luke 15:2

And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 15:3-32

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

There are so many more passages which illustrate this same point.

The second son who didn’t do what the father asked represents the religious leaders of Jesus’ time.

They were people  who seemed to be living holy lives, but in reality are just giving God lip service.

The pharisees and scribes did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
They thought they were better than others.
They were not obedient to God’s call.
and They did not love, but they did put on a good show.

The parable teaches us three things:

The first is simply this we will not be judged by our intentions but rather by our actions.

In other words it’s not enough to simply say “yes” to God
For our yes to be real
For our yes to be salvific it must seen in the choices we make and the lives we

Giving God lip service will not save us, even if our intentions are good even if we meant well.
The second lesson is simply this,
just like you can’t tell a book from it’s cover we simply cannot know the state of a person’s soul.

Only God knows the human heart.

Therefore our love must be shared equally with everyone,
Those who appear good and those who do not,
Those we are comfortable with and those we are not comfortable with,
We are called to love those who share our ideas and even those who do not.

We all know too well that sometimes people seem to live perfect lives and then we find out just how much they need our prayers and God’s mercy.

Other times we are quick to dismiss those who like the first son who don’t present themselves well, or seem a disaster waiting to happen.

How many times do we look down on a person who just can’t seem to get their life together.

How many times have we refused to accept someone who made a mistake but wants to change.

The third and final lesson of the parable is this.

God is concerned about now, you might say he has a short memory
For God the past is the past.

If a person was a great sinner in the past but repents and turns their life around they will be welcomed home to God.

If a person was a great saint in the past but changed their ways and refused to hear God’s call they place their salvation in jeopardy.

If we’ve made mistakes in the past it’s time to move on. If we lived good holy lives now is not the time to rest on our laurals

Good intentions are not enough Only good actions Count
Only God understands the human heart
God is concerned about now the past is the past.

Lucky for us God has a special place for sinners in His heart.

Have a great day everyone.

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