Homily 24th Sunday of Year C: Michael U. Udoekpo· Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14;
· Ps 51:3-4,12-13,17,19(R/v Lk 15:18);
· 1 Tim 1:12-17
· Luke 15:1-32
God mercifully finds us when we are lost
What a wonderful mercy-filled scripture readings today- from Exodus 32, Paul’s First Letter to Timothy and from the 3 great parables in Luke’s Gospel chapter 15. All these scripture passages remind us of who God truly is: a merciful father who loves us, a merciful God who doesn’t judge us as we deserve, a merciful God who searches for us, a loving God who finds us when we miss our ways, and when we get lost: like the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost prodigal son. In these readings we also find a God who wants us to be a prayerful people, a forgiving people, who pray and intercede for one another(E.g....).
In the 1st reading this is who Moses is: a leader, a liberator, a prophet, a man of prayer and an intercessor who intercedes for his people gathered sinfully at the foot of Mount Sinai. Sinfully in the sense that as Moses was on the mountain praying and encountering God on behalf of his people, the very people were busy practicing idolatry, making golden calf- other gods for themselves. They got loss. They lacked focus- drawing God’s anger who contemplated of punishing them, except for intercessory role of Moses who prayed “why O Lord, should your wrath blaze against your covenanted people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt.” Some time we get loss and we need to pray for one another; our friends, our families and our nations.
Same could be said of Paul in today’s second reading (1 Tim 1:12-17), whose past anti-Christian attitude we are familiar with. He was lost not only in blaspheming but in hating and persecuting the Christians (Acts 26:9-11)- only to be saved by God. Today Paul is prayerfully grateful to God who has mercifully treated him. Writing to Timothy he says, “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord because he considers me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated, because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.”
Some of us get lost in our sins, our selfishness not because of our own faults, but because of one factor or the other. It could be our environment. It could be the type of company we keep. It could be the type of books we read. It could also be the type of movies we watch. It could be ambition or the wrong choices we make in life. Even political ideologies can make us lose track of the universal mercy of God.
But in the tender eyes and love of God there is always room to make- up, for a rediscovery, for atonement, for a renewal. And this is again demonstrated in the three parables of today’s Gospel: the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the lost son. In all these “losses” there is this image of merciful, concerned, caring owner who left everything to search for the lost item. At discovery they are all very happy and joyful.
Our Merciful God loves us. He searches for each and everyone one of us. All that he expects of us is to be people of prayer, men and women, with a forgiving heart. And each time we offend God to be able to say like the 2nd son in today’s Gospel and in the responsorial Psalm “I will rise up and go back to my father.” Let us rise up at this Mass and go back to God our Father.