HOMILY FOR 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
HOMILY THEME: CELEBRATING GOD’S MERCIFUL LOVE FOR ALL
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: READINGS: EXODUS 32:7-11.13-14, PSALM 51, 1TIMOTHY 1:12-17, LUKE 15:1-32
√• God’s MERCY is INSURMOUNTABLE!
√• No sin OUTWEIGHS his mercy.
√• Make that all important decision to CHANGE today!
√• LEAVE your prodigal position NOW, Christ is waiting to welcome you!
My dearly beloved in Christ, we celebrate today, ‘God’s Love in Action’, a kind of love that is second to none, a love exemplified in the most pragmatic attribute of God, his MERCY. God is pure mercy, he is readily compassionate towards us his creatures and whenever we sin, he forgives us. Pope Francis once said, ‘How lovely is the Scriptural description of God? Everything is there, because God is great and powerful, but His greatness and power are displayed in loving us, we who are so little, so incapable.’ No wonder Scripture defines him as Love, in 1John 4:8; a definition that is so true and indubitable.
GOD IS MERCIFUL and he forgives us our sins even when in truth we are not deserving of forgiveness. Both the first reading taken from Exodus 32:7-11.13-14 and the Gospel passage Luke 15:1-32 attest to this fact. The Israelites were a terribly stubborn people before God; in fact they were a recalcitrant people who were not just highly un-teachable but were also quick to forget how good the Lord was been to them. Today again, they apostatized by forgetting the God who brought them out of Egypt and built themselves a molten calf, worshiped and sacrificed to it (Exo. 32:7-8); and what did God do? Upon the intercession of Moses, “the Lord repented from doing the evil he had planned against them.” (Exo. 32:14). This is pure mercy, it is unconditional forgiveness at play.
More so, the Parable of the Merciful Father (Prodigal Son) illustrates in the best way possible, the highly merciful nature of God and how he sits in wait for our return to him when we offend him. This parable must have been on Pope Francis’ mind when he declared categorically that the name of God is mercy and Jesus Christ is “Misericordiae Vultus” “The Face of Mercy,” he is ‘the face’ of His Father’s mercy and calls us to be “Be merciful like the Father (LK 6:36). The bible is replete of passages that affirm the merciful and forgiving nature of God. Exodus 34:6 say, “The Lord is a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. Psalm 86:15 reiterates this fact thus; “And you Lord God are compassionate and merciful, being patient and full of mercy and truthful”. Elsewhere, the prophet Nehemiah buttresses this claim, “But you forgiving God, lenient and merciful, longsuffering and full of compassion…” (Neh. 9:17). That is not all, the prophet Jonah affirmed this when he said “…I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, and of great compassion…” (Jonah 4:2b). Also we hear the Psalmist repeat the same thing when he asserts in 103:8 that “the Lord is compassionate and merciful, patient and full of mercy”.
How I desire that we all noticed the stress laid on mercy and on the love of God who never tires of forgiving. He forgave the Israelites when they gravely offended him, he forgave the prodigal son who left him for loose living when he returned to him; who told you my brothers and sisters that God cannot forgive you your sins. In Exodus 32, Moses interceded on behalf of the Israelites and God forgave them; while in Luke 15, the prodigal son ‘came back to his senses’, made a conversion of heart, had true contrition and God forgave him out of his mercy. My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, in as much as God’s mercy is boundless and ever abiding, we need on our part to do something. Sincere contrition is needful; Psalm 51:17 tells us that God will never turn his back on a broken spirit, a crushed and contrite heart. We need to repent from our ways, come back to our senses and return to God and he will forgive us. The prophecy of Joel 2:12-13 exhorts us, “Turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting and weeping and mourning: rend our hearts, and not your garments, convert to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and merciful, patient and full of compassion, and repents from evil”.
Today, beloved friends, may we be reminded never to underestimate the extent to which God is merciful towards us. May we come to terms with our sinfulness and realizing our need of God’s mercy and forgiveness, say to ourselves; ‘I will leave this place and go back to my Father’ (Lk. 15:18). It is high time we left those ill stricken places we are at the moment and occasions of sin behind us and returned hurriedly to God who is always ready to welcome us back into his fold, not as slaves, but as sons in the Son. It is never too late to begin the journey; we can start where we are. Friends in Christ, no sin outweighs the mercy of God, let us come to him truly contrite of our sins and he will welcome us back home.
For the grace to realize the depth of God’s mercy, come back to our senses and return to him to be forgiven, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
BE MERCIFUL TO THE POOR, FEED AND EDUCATE THEM…
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