24th Sunday in Ordinary Time C22
The past few weekends Jesus has given us instructions of what following him means, either directly, particularly when discipleship demands putting the relationship with Jesus above every other one, including family and all possessions, or indirectly. This weekend the Scriptures reveal God’s relationship with us.
In Exodus, God is pictured as having human emotions, like deep disappointment with the people with whom God has just made a covenant; jealousy over their giving credit to a golden calf for their escape from Egypt and making it to be a god; and blazing wrath over their betrayal. However, God listens to Moses’ intercession for the ignorant people by recalling God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And God relents in the threatened punishment.
In the Gospel, Jesus talks about a man who searches diligently for a lost sheep from his flock of 100, leaving to the mercy of the weather, bandits and predators and a woman who lights a lamp to explore every nook and cranny of her house, looking under beds, moving furniture in search of one small coin out of 10 she had, all of small value. Both call their friends and neighbors to rejoice with them. And Jesus concludes these examples by saying there will be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. Jesus continues with another parable about wayward son and a prodigal father who forgives unconditionally, restoring his child to his place in the household and celebrates with a feast along with music and dancing.
And Paul in his letter to Timothy is overwhelmed by being saved by Christ, experiencing his forgiveness and his mercy despite Paul’s sins of blasphemy, his persecution of Christ in Christ’s people, and his arrogance.
What do we learn about God?
- Our God, the one true God, is jealous God who cares deeply that we follow the way that God points out us.
- God listens to intercessory prayers and remembers the promises that God has made through all generations.
- God actively searches for each of us. I am not just a member of a crowd who is a miniscule percentage who doesn’t matter to God if I am lost.
- If we repent of our waywardness, there will be rejoicing in heaven.
- No matter what we’ve done, said, or wished for, as awful that was or could be, if we return, God will joyously welcome us, meeting us on the way home with love.