September 15, 2019

24th Sun., Ordinary Time

September 15, 2019:  Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

See 27 connections with today?
Legend below

For 1st reading
For Psalm 51
For the gospel
Thanks to Ed Bolduc
In today's gospel Jesus is criticized for being with tax collectors and sinners.  Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them.   And now, at every Mass, Jesus is happy to welcome us at his table and offer himself to us.  In the face of his critics, the Lord recounts three parables of his predilection for those who feel far from him.

First, he asks who wouldn't leave 99 sheep to search for a lost one.  For God, those who don't yet know his love are at the center of his heart.  Second, he tells of a lady who loses a coin.  You are that coin the Lord doesn't resign himself to losing.  He seeks you relentlessly to tell you you're unique.  In the 3rd, the Father awaits the return of the prodigal son.  God awaits us without tiring or losing heart. Don't fear even if you've done horrible things; God doesn't tire, because we're that reunited son, rediscovered coin, caressed sheep.

God waits for us to accept his love, but the older brother rejects it, imaging God as master rather than father, rigorous rather than a merciful.  No; God saves with love, not force.  He proposes himself; he doesn't impose himself.  We're mistaken when we believe we're right and others bad.  Without God's help, we can't overcome evil.   We defeat evil by accepting God’s forgiveness.  With God, sin doesn't have the last word. 


  • Ex 32:7-11, 13-14  Lord to Moses:  “Your people turned from me, worship a calf.  Let me consume them.”  Moses:  “Remember your oath to multiply descendants and give land”  Lord relented.
  • Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19  "I will rise and go to my father."  Have mercy; wash me from my guilt; cleanse me of sin.  You won't spurn a contrite heart.
  • 1 Tm 1:12-17  Christ showed mercy, strengthened and trusted me, came to save, appointed me to serve, shows his patience in me.  Lord's grace, faith, love are abundant.  Glory to God!
  • Lk 15:1-32  As shepherd rejoices upon finding lost sheep, so heaven over repentant sinner.  As woman rejoices upon finding lost coin, so angels over repentant sinner.  Prodigal father and son:  Father gives younger son his inheritance.  He squanders it, finds self in need, comes to senses, returns.  Father embraces him.  Son apologizes; father celebrates son come back to life, pleads with angry older son:  "Rejoice; your brother was lost and has been found.”
"Prodigal Son" gallery
Return of the Prodigal Son
The prodigal son tends his swine/ Sebald Beham
The return of the prodigal son
Return of the Prodigal Son/ Batoni
Return of the Prodigal Son
Rembrandt van Rijn
Prodigal Son/ Mayer
  • Creighton:  A father’s love is always waiting to welcome his children back. I need to rely on the Lord for the grace to be more loving and forgiving in all areas of my life. "True charity consists in bearing all of our neighbors’ defects—not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues" (St. Thèrése of Lisieux).
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The hardest cancer":  Unforgiveness is like cancer.  If we don't remove it all, it'll kill us.  Sometimes the worst offenders are our worst problem.  We need grace to forgive anyone, especially them.  Sometimes "repeat offenders" are the most challenging, but Jesus commands us to forgive seventy times seven times.  His grace is sufficient.  The closest offenders can be the worst:  spouses, children, parents, people we see daily can hurt us the most.  It's humanly impossible to forgive them.  Lord, help me forgive the person I'm least willing to forgive.
  • Passionist:  God is merciful!  Pope Francis appreciates this so much that he decreed a Holy Year of Mercy, a time for believers' witness to grow stronger and more effective, a time to bear others' weakness and struggle.  “Blessed are the merciful; they'll be shown mercy.” “Be merciful like your heavenly Father.”  In the 1st reading we see God's mercy as he listens to Moses' pleading and relents.  In the gospel we read of God's joy and mercy in finding the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son.  So why is it so hard for us to show mercy?  Why can’t we leave the 99 to recover our relationship with the one who offended us?  Why can’t we run to son who's been found?  It's time to show mercy and relieve our neighbors of their misery.  There's mercy when misery finds a heart.  Let's have a big heart to match our neighbors' misery and see the Face of Mercy in our Lord!
  •  "Your brother was lost and is found":  God doesn't rejoice in the loss of anyone but searches for the till they're restored and united with the community of heaven.  Jesus told today's parables in response to the scribes and Pharisees' disapproval with his close contact with people of bad reputation.  Jews despised tax collectors because they often forced the people to pay more than they owed, and sinners were a scandal.  The religious leaders took offense at Jesus because he met with them all and treated them like friends, offering them forgiveness, mercy, healing, and the promise of full restoration with God and his kingdom.   An isolated sheep could become easy prey for wolves and lions; a shepherd would naturally rejoice when he finds and restores a lost sheep.  The wife's lost coin was worth her husband's daily wage; finding it saved the family from suffering and was also a cause for rejoicing.  Both searched till they found what they lost, then share their joy with the community.  The poor are good at sharing each other's sorrows and joys. in Jesus taught that the lost sinners must be sought out.  God wants all to be saved and restored to fellowship with him.  May we pray for and seek the lost.
Jesus' parable of the prodigal father has three parts:  the younger son's offensive behavior, the father's extravagant love for him, and the older son's resentment of his father and brother.  The younger son "came to his senses"; desperate to stay alive, he hoped his father would take pity and hire him.  The father actually treated him with affection and tears of joy, then restored him.  Jesus contrasts the father's merciful love with the elder son's rejection of his brother and his refusal to welcome him.  The younger son realized he hadn't returned his father's love.  His humiliation and reflection led to his repentance, return, reconciliation, and restored relationship.  The father's actions spoke of forgiveness and new life.  The son couldn't return to his innocence, but he was reinstated as a son; his change expresses resurrection and rebirth.  The parable also contrasts mercy with unwillingness to forgive.  The wronged father was forgiving and merciful, but elder son, who hadn't been wronged, was unforgiving, proud, resentful, and became isolated and estranged.  God is generous, kind, and forgiving; he never gives up when we stray, he leads us, and he's happy to welcome us home.
Dress legend
  • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  “Your people made and are worshiping a molten calf" (1st reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  "Why, Lord...?" (1st reading); “Who wouldn't leave 99 sheep to find a lost one?" "Who wouldn't light a lamp to find a lost coin?" (gospel)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "You brought them out of Egypt with a strong hand" (1st reading)
  • 'Star' tie pin:  "I'll make your descendants as numerous as the stars" (1st reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin from Congress:  "I have been mercifully treated" (2nd reading); "In your compassion..." (psalm); compassionate father (gospel)
  • 'Chalkboard with eraser and formula with division sign (½)' pin:  "...wipe out my offense" (psalm); the father divided the property between his sons (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  A clean heart create for me;  you won't spurn an contrite, humble heart (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  "Don't take your Holy Spirit from me" (psalm)
  • 'Car with mouth with open lips' pin:  "Lord, open my lips" (psalm)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Honor and glory to the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God (2nd reading)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  "There will be joy in heaven over one repentant sinner" (gospel)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Angels will rejoice over one repentant sinner (gospel)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  When she finds the lost coin, she 'calls' together her friends; elder son 'called' servant to ask about the feast (gospel)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Lost sheep (gospel)
  • 'Coin' tie bar:  Lost coin (gospel)
  • 'Street light' tie bar:  Who wouldn't light a lamp to find a lost coin? (gospel)
  • 'Money' tie:  Father gave his younger son his share of the estate (gospel)
  • 'Pigs' suspenders:  Younger son hired himself out to tend swine (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Father caught sight of son returning home (gospel)
  • Wedding ring and sandals (not shown), 'feet' pin:  "Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet" (gospel)
  • 'Calf' pin:  "Slaughter the fattened calf..." (gospel)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar"  "...then let's celebrate with a feast" (gospel)
  • 'Clef' pin:  Older brother heard music and dancing (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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