Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Catholic 755: Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year C - Sunday, September 15, 2019

Homily Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year C - Sunday, September 15, 2019

First reading. Exodus 32:7-11,13-14

Responsorial Psalm. Psalm 50:3-4,12-13,17,19. I will rise and go to my Father

Second reading. 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Alleluia, alleluia! God was in Christ, to reconcile the world to himself, And the Good News of reconciliation he has entrusted to us.

Gospel. Luke 15:1-32.
Image:  Licensed by Shutterstock:  Picture - By Zvonimir Atletic.  photo ID: 418928530.  STITAR, CROATIA - NOVEMBER 24: Return of the prodigal son, Relief on main altar in the church of Saint Matthew in Stitar, Croatia on November 24, 2015 - Licensed by Shutterstock. 
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We keep in our prayers all who are affected by the many bushfires throughout South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. We pray for safety and that the fire danger may swiftly pass.  Thanks to God for the wonderful work of the fire fighters and all  the generous people who help in times of disaster.  May all people suffering from disasters throughout the world, including the devastation in the Bahamas, be given the practical assistance they need. 
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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year C - Sunday, September 15, 2019 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/24c-faith-hope-and-love-ep-177/s-a0nRA  (EPISODE: 177)
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Homily Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year C 
Prologue:  This weekend's parable of the prodigal son is surely one of the greatest and best-loved parables in the bible.  I used to think that prodigal meant bad or misguided but in fact, it means prodigious ...  exceeding or excessive ...  in that sense all three main characters in this parable are prodigal .. but each I'm different ways... . ...  one is excessive in waste and recklessness .. the other is excessive in resentment and grudging slavery and the last is excessive in love and mercy.  It's ironic that one of the best-known stories in the bible has yet to fully be grasped for its astounding message about Gods love and mercy for us....  
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We only have to look at the situation of Saint Paul, to be overjoyed that God doesn't write-us-off when we make terrible mistakes...  even huge ones! .....   

Saint Paul was a wonderful disciple and messenger for Christ, and God's Kingdom...   but if we had applied merely earthly standards he would have been banished from the Christian life forever, for his earlier merciless persecutions of the Christians. ...  and all he had to offer would have been scorned and lost. ...  Instead.. he has become the foremost example of how God can make use of even those who have gotten the message so wrong... but who turned back and were forgiven and renewed...  and then cooperated, with God's grace, in the wonderful things God was doing. It is Inspiring! 
And anyone who witnessed this would rightly rejoice and join in God's happiness, at gaining back a beloved and once-lost son.   


"My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours."

The whole parable of the "prodigal son" and the other parables in this section are best explained by the first two sentences of Today's gospel…. …."The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. 'This man' they said 'welcomes sinners and eats with them.' So he spoke this parable to them"

It would seem then, that this set of parables is primarily aimed at all who, like the Scribes and Pharisees, are acting like the resentful, begrudging older son, acting more like 'good righteous slaves' rather than 'well-beloved sons'……. The parable reveals how shockingly resentful the so-called righteous leaders of the time were towards their heavenly Father and how begrudging towards all who turn back to God and seek mercy. 

The most striking theme today's readings is God's infinite mercy. What a wonderful set of readings this weekend. 
We are reminded that, first and foremost, we are God's beloved sons and daughters, by virtue of God's great love and not because we have earned this position. 
God is an unconditionally loving parent…. 
We know that a child does not earn the love of his or her parent… They just simply and fully HAVE that love …. It exists as from the beginning…. Well before they were even born…. It is there throughout their lives….. It is always there…. Irrespective of the child's actions and choices…..

Naturally a loving parent can get severely hurt by their child's actions…. But they do not stop loving them…. They cannot stop loving their child because it would be like denying their very self…. Which they simply cannot do…… 

As with an unconditionally-loving parent, is God's love for us. … but  infinitely more-so
God LOVES us./ God will always love us./ Like a doting parent./  The parable portrays God the Father as an almost foolishly loving and generous parent.  

We often call this parable the prodigal son…
I used to think prodigal meant "bad" …. But it simply means prodigious… That is, ."to an enormous or colossal extent......  ...massively overflowing! … And, in that sense … all three men are prodigious! ..(=  prodigal)…/ 

The father is prodigious in his love, his hope.... his generosity and mercy…. 

And the younger son is sadly prodigious in his wastefulness and recklessness.. But he is also quite prodigious and accurate in his assessment of his father's kindness ...... He knows he has sinned (He realises that now, with shame)…/ The son KNOWS his father is a good and just man who would at least treat him better than the people he was slaving for at the pig-farm, where he found himself starving to death…. 

Even the older son is prodigious.... in his resentment.  and his "working and slaving resentfully"… and all the time thinking that this somehow entitles him to a reward, but ends up just making him bitter and ironically he becomes more distant from his father than the younger, wasteful son. 

But at least the younger son realizes his error. 
The older son does not even realise his folly.  

Fortunately Jesus, Our brother, reveals to us that The heavenly Father...  is the best kind of parent… truly a loving, unconditionally doting and giving Father….. who makes us his children …. We do not earn it …. And it the love God has for us is not diminished by 'undeserving' actions.. although it pierces his heart terribly....  …… … 

we wander away from the Father and his love and care at our own peril…. For, we NEED our loving God…..and who knows what will happen if we stray too far and do not turn back…. 

A less obvious, but profoundly important theme relates to the older son. He is seemingly 'faithful' to his father in his duty, working hard to serve, but very hesitant to celebrate the return of his brother. Why?

Is it jealousy or an 'it's not fair' attitude? Is he feeling let down or unimportant? Such toxic thoughts are certainly not aligned with the love his father has for him. 'My son…everything I have is yours.' 

How often do we feel like that older son? Do we forget that we are beloved sons and daughters... and not begrudging slaves..... Do we actually believe in what  the father tells us :  "EVERYTHING I have, is yours." 

Let us open our  the Father's love to fill us with joy.^^

Saint Luke's Gospel today is long and wonderful. First Jesus tells us the reason for eating with sinners and enjoying their company: He knows us and comes very close to us... inviting us to share His life. Jesus explains that seeking out sinners is not a rejection of the just people. It is clear, however, that a truly just person will love sinners the way that Jesus does and the way that Moses did in the first reading. The truly just person wants all people to be saved and perhaps in a special way wants the salvation of those who have wandered far from the truth and from God's love. being a true sona dn daughter of God is sharing in the Father's passion for each and every one of his children...    God is not even content with 99 saved sheep..  but will not rest until ALL 100 are safely home where they belong. 

Saint Luke's Gospel also shows us that we can hope even for those who run as far away as possible from love. The story of the son who takes his inheritance and completely uses it up in wasteful living, is a clear teaching from Jesus. Even those of us wander far from God are still longed for  - that they will return and be held closely. There is more than one story like this in the Gospel, showing that whenever a sinner wants to return to the Lord, the Lord is always there to receive Him with open arms. How many times? As many times as it takes - because that is the love of God.

Brother and sisters in Christ, you and I are the sinners portrayed in the Gospel. We can choose between the younger son or the older son. Perhaps at different times we may have been in the position of both of the brothers? We are invited to return to the Lord time and time again. We can turn around each day, each moment, and know that God is always loving us and forgiving us. This is the heart of the Gospel of Jesus: God is compassion and love. God is forgiveness - a countless number of times. 

God wants us to know His love, even when we doubt that love. even if we only start to turn back to him because of an initially 'rather pragmatic self-interest,'... May this Sunday give us a full taste of God's love and an ever-deepening desire to live constantly in that care which is fully and completely ours…** This is the unearned possession of all who accept it; our neghbour, our friends; - Those we meet: everyone…
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

^^Madonna Magazine. http://www.pray.com.au/gospel.php?date=091513

**Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Abbot's homily.

Image:  Licensed by Shutterstock:  Picture - By Zvonimir Atletic.  photo ID: 418928530.  STITAR, CROATIA - NOVEMBER 24: Return of the prodigal son, Relief on main altar in the church of Saint Matthew in Stitar, Croatia on November 24, 2015 - Licensed by Shutterstock.   
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May God bless and keep you.

Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year C
(
Sunday, September 15, 2019)

(EPISODE: 177 )

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (or/ The Lord be with You)
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{{May Our Lord's generosity inspire you. }}

my brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves toƟcelebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins.
You were sent to heal the contrite of heart. Lord, have mercy.// You came to call sinners:Christ, have mercy. //You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us:Lord, have mercy.//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.
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Memorial Acclamation

3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

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Sundays Ordinary III

Euch Prayer II

Communion side.  pwk: 
RH
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{
my heartfelt thanks for your participation in this time of reflection, prayer and praise. }

Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

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