24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 15, 2019

24C19.   Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14.   God brought his people out of Egypt BUT they had something of Egypt in them that they brought with them, the worship of idols.  They had lived in Egypt for so long that they had taken on some of the Egyptian ways. Moses had gone up the mountain to listen to what the Lord had to say to him and so Moses had left Aaron in charge of the people in his absence.  However, Exodus 32:25b says, “Aaron had let the people run wild,” saying to Moses who had returned in Exodus 32:22c, “You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.”  Exodus 32:9-10b relates: “I see how stiff-necked this people is.” continued the Lord to Moses. “Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.”  However, Moses then convinced the Lord to be merciful to them.  Exodus 32:14, states, “So the Lord relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.”  In Exodus 34:6, “Thus the Lord passed before Moses and cried out, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity, continuing his kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin.”

Luke 15:1-32.   First with two short parables and with the lengthy parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus relates how joyful God and all the heavens are at the repentance of even one sinner.  God has this great joy because of his love and mercy toward and for all his people.   In the parable of the Prodigal Son the older son represents the scribes and the Pharisees who fastidiously follow the Law.  For the older son there is no mercy or forgiveness.  The father represents God our Father.  In the prayer that Jesus taught us are the lines: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Jesus says in Luke 7:37c, “Forgive and you will be forgiven,” and also in Luke 7:38b: “For the measure with which you measure will in turn be measured out to you,”   Jesus demands that those who follow him love as he loved, even to the cross.

1 Timothy 1:12-17.  Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  Of these I am the foremost.  But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those come to believe in him for everlasting life.”  Paul makes it clear that it was by God’s merciful, patient love and not by Paul’s works that he is saved.  Paul, who was very prominent in so many peoples’ lives, wants to stand out as a sinner who has been put well on the road to sanctity by the merciful, loving forgiveness of God.