24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 15th September 2019

Theme: GOD IS MERCIFUL: HE SEEKS OUT AND SAVES SINNERS

  • Exodus 32:7-11. 13-14;
  • Psalm 50 (51):3-4. 12-13. 17. 19. R/ Lk 15:18;
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17;
  • Luke 15:1-32 (Shorter Form, verses 1-10)

Today is the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that God is merciful and that he seeks out and saves sinners! The gospel today tells us in three parables that God is merciful and that he seeks out and saves sinners! The three parables are the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son (the Prodigal Son).

The first Parable on the Lost Sheep tells us that God is like the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to look for the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it he calls together his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him because he has “found the sheep that was lost”. The gospel tells us that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have not need of repentance!

The second Parable on the Lost Coin tells us that God is like the woman who has ten coins. When she loses one of the coins, she lights a lamp and sweeps the house until she finds the lost coin. And when she finds the coin she calls together her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her because she has “found the coin” she lost! The gospel tells us that in the same way the angels of God rejoice over one repentant sinner!

The third Parable on the Lost Son tells us that God is like the father who is always on the lookout for his lost son. When he sees him from afar he runs to him and clasps him and kisses him. He puts the best robe on him, puts a ring on his finger and puts sandals on his feet. He then slaughters the fattened calf to feast and celebrate because his son was dead and has come back to life, “was lost and is found”!

Again, the gospel today tells us that God is merciful and that he seeks out and saves sinners!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel worshipped the golden calf! God was angry with them and wanted to destroy them, but Moses pleaded with God not to destroy them, because of the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendents will be as many as the stars of heaven!

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God relented and did not destroy them: “So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”! Indeed, God is merciful!       

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to repent and turn back to God who is merciful. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the Parable of the Lost Son from the gospel of today:

“I will leave this place and go to my father.”! (Lk 15:18)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. In the first stanza we ask God to forgive us our sins. In the second stanza we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore. In the third stanza we praise and thank God for forgiving us our sins and giving us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore!

Finally, the second reading tells us that God does not only save sinners, but God also call sinners to be his apostles! The second reading tells us that Paul was the greatest sinner, but he became the greatest apostle! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life.” (1 Tm 1:15-16)

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith.” (1 Tm 1:12-13a)

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to repent and to turn back to God who is merciful, and the Holy Spirit will help us become apostles of Jesus Christ! Amen!

5th Sunday of Easter (Year C) – 19th May 2019

Theme: WE ARE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS JESUS LOVED US

  • Acts 14:21-27;
  • Psalm 144 (145): 8-13. R/ v. 1;
  • Apocalypse (Revelation) 21:1-5
  • John 13:31-35

Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us to love one another as Jesus loved us, that is, to love one another in the dimension of the cross, that is, to love the sinner, to forgive the sinner and to save the sinner!

The gospel passage today is sandwiched between the announcement of Judas’s betrayal of Jesus and the prediction of Peter’s denial of Jesus. That is why to love one another as Jesus loved us is to love in the dimension of the cross, to love the sinner, to forgive the sinner and to save the sinner!

St. Cyril of Alexandria who lived between the 4th and 5th centuries (c. 376 – 444) tells us that this commandment to love one another as Jesus loved us is new, because in the old commandment we were asked to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lv 19:18), but in the new commandment we are asked to love our enemies more than we love ourselves! (Herald, 28th April 2013, 5th Easter)

Jesus loved sinners more than he loved himself! That is why he forgave sinners and sacrificed his life for the salvation of sinners! This is the only love that can save the world! Indeed, only this love can save the world!

But how can we love as Jesus loved? How can we love, forgive and save sinners, when we ourselves are sinners? Indeed, we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit! Jesus died, rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit! That is why the words glorify and glorified are mentioned five times at the beginning of today’s gospel!

With the help of the Holy Spirit we can love one another as Jesus loved us, that is, to love in the dimension of the cross, that is, to love, to forgive and to save sinners! Only the love of Jesus Christ can save the whole world!

The first reading tells us about the end of the first missionary journey of St. Paul. The first reading tells us that St. Paul proclaims the good news of the love of Jesus Christ to the pagans, that is, to the whole world! More than that, the first reading also tells us that St. Paul does not only proclaim the good news of the love of Jesus Christ, but he also built churches, not material buildings; but Christian communities of love and unity as signs and sacraments of salvation for the whole world; so that the whole world may see and believe and be saved! The first reading also tells us that we have to suffer many hardships and persecutions in order to build the kingdom of God!

The second reading tells us that in spite of all the persecutions and martyrdoms there will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be a new Jerusalem, that is, the Church, and there will be a new creation, because God is the one who makes all things new!

Indeed, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, there will be a new Jerusalem, that is, the Church, and there will be a new creation, where we will love one another as Jesus loved us, where we will love in the dimension of the cross, where we will love the sinner, forgive the sinner and save the sinner!

The historical context of the second reading is the persecution and martyrdom of the Christians by the Roman emperors Nero and Domitian in the first century. (HCSB)

The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God who is love and compassion and who rules with love and compassion! (HCSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.” (Ps 144 (145): 1; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that God is love and compassion. Thus we read in the first stanza:

“The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.” (Ps 144 (145): 8-9; SM)

The second and third stanzas give praise and thanks to God who is love and compassion and who rules with love and compassion.

Today we give thanks to God for his love and compassion in creation and in salvation and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit of his love, so that we can love one another as Jesus loved us, and so that we can proclaim the good news of his love to the whole world, and so that we can build Christian communities of love and unity as signs and sacraments of salvation for the whole world, and so that the whole world might be saved by his love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!