24TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
This Sunday the 11th of September, is the day when we remember all those who lost their lives in the World Trade Centre atrocity which took place in 2001. Fifteen years on all of us who were around at that time remember exactly where we were on that fateful day as the events unfolded on the TV before our eyes.Disbelief at how this had happened and wondering about what would happen next were the order of that life changing day. The question we need to ask ourselves at this time has to be what have we as individuals learned from this event and are we safer in our day to day living as a result of the actions of our governments after 9/11. I’m not really sure that I know the answer but I do know that we need to continue to pray and work for peace in our world, our countries, our hearts and minds
In this Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of Luke we hear the story of the Prodigal Son. This story is all about the mercy of God for all of us. It is also about us looking for the mercy of the father while not being afraid to say that we were wrong or afraid to say sorry. At times the steps necessary for our walk back to the Fathers house may seem too arduous for us and we hesitate even to make the first move. Perhaps it is only when we see, like the Prodigal Son, that we are then willing to rouse ourselves to say sorry and to take the path that leads to the merciful embrace of our heavenly Father. When we make even the slightest effort with God’s grace, it is then we see the Father waiting at the door to embrace us and welcome us back home. Rejection of the love and presence of his father, in the communion of life and love as a family, was a terrible choice for the prodigal son. He desired things over people, his share of the inheritance in preference to a life in communion with the father who and loved him. Let us remember that God our father celebrates every time that we return to him. The tax collectors and sinners did not come to hear the Pharisees and scribes, because they knew that they would find only judgment not mercy. They came to hear Jesus, because he was happy that they wanted to change their lives. God does not give up. He will not give up on us, calling us to him personally seeking us out individually. Nor does He give up on anyone, even those who have been far from the him. Even today Jesus calls us all to join in the joy of His Presence in the blessed sacrament and the joy of the banquet of the lord in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass.
The return of those who have had been away is a time for celebration. Maybe some sin or other thing in life convinced them to leave the warmth of the family of god. The cause of leaving no longer matters what matters is the fact is that many who have left are beginning to come back and we need to welcome them with open arms as the father welcomed the prodigal who had come to his senses and realized the big mistake that he had made. In the Old Testament the mercy of God was something that you had to beg for but in the New Testament the mercy and love of god are freely given and available to all. The mercy of God is there for our benefit as long as we have the breath of life in us. The coming of the Son of God on earth, His teaching, His sufferings and death, His resurrection were all accomplished for us, so that we share the joy of heaven. In the meantime may we show the mercy of God to others as he has shown his mercy to us.