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Homily for September 11, 2022 – Sunday the 24th Week in Ordinary Time

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

Sunday the 24th Week in Ordinary Time

(Exodus 32: 7 – 11, 13 – 14; Ps 51; 1 Tim 1:12 – 17; Luke 15: 1 – 32)

“The Father and I are one” – out of this most sacred oneness, this divine unity, Jesus speaks of the Father’s mercy and His own. Can we imagine the enthusiasm, the passion and sincerity as He spoke – His audience captivated by His authority hung on to every word – they found themselves lifted up because such is the power of the Word of God.

In recounting the three parables – probably proclaimed on different occasions, St. Luke has joined them together in one place and it seems to me that after the parable of the shepherd – who cannot leave one sheep unattended – St. Luke is saying, “and there is more.” So he recounts Jesus’ parable of the woman searching for the lost coin – a search that is intense, persistent for one coin. Again, St. Luke seems to say, “and there is still more.” I think with joy and gratitude the Evangelist proclaims the unforgettable parable of the Prodigal Son, actually of the most loving father whose forgiving mercy is boundless.

This revelation of the heart of the Father and of Jesus’ heart is one of a mercy that someone has described as “unspeakable.’’ Reflecting on Jesus’ words it is abundantly clear that Jesus the Teacher has not spoken in some kind of theoretical way like a teacher might do in a classroom. His proclamation is the very mystery He shares with His Father.

Jesus has given us a verbal picture which He has painted in profound, beautiful, captivating words – it is a masterpiece of divine revelation. “No one has ever spoken like this Man!” In the background we might hear the voice of the Father, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Benedict XVI has written, “We do not create meaning for ourselves, we receive it” Today, in the Gospel the Lord lavishes us with meaning. No matter what we experience in life, no matter how we struggle or even fall, the mercy of God is always present to lift us up, to carry us. This mercy we receive, are receiving at this very moment is a gift beyond all price.

The gift received is to be given as a gift – freely, generously; if not, then we do not value, esteem this divine gift. If you/I are not merciful in turn then either we have not heard His Word or really, He is not the Lord of my life