Reflection for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2019
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFM
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
Today’s Gospel Reading is one of my favorites because it clearly states that God is a forgiving and loving God who will
forgive all things if only we honestly seek His forgiveness. The Gospel Reading from Luke 15-1-32 coupled with Paul’s
letter to Timothy are powerful reminders to us of God’s infinite mercy and love.
The reading from Luke is sometimes called The Good Shepherd reading because it tells the story of how a good
shepherd will go seeking one lost sheep.
‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after
the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he
got home, call together his friends and neighbors? “Rejoice with me,” he would say, “I have found my sheep that was
lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine
virtuous men who have no need of repentance.
Luke’s Gospel also has the story of The Prodigal Son who after taking his inheritance went and squandered it on all the
excesses that life had to offer. “A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant
country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.” The story ends with; “While he was still a long way
off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.
Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But
the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on
his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of
mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.”
The other son who was laboring in the fields for His father came home to find all the celebration going on and became
angry because he had been faithful while the other son did every terrible thing possible yet was being treated like a
prince. When the who had remained faithful confronted his father he was told the following; “The father said, “My son,
you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your
brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”
These two stories clearly tell us how God will react when we seek Him out to ask forgiveness for any wrongs we may
have done and desire to claim our rightful place within the Mystical Body of Christ, The Universal Church, which includes
all denominations that trace their roots back to The Apostles.
Paul’s letter to Timothy reinforces this teaching when he tells Timothy; “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me
strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all
I could to injure and discredit the faith. Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been
acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus. Here is a
saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am
the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest
evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life”
Our God is not a God of Vengeance but a God of infinite LOVE. God does not want us going about spreading hatred and
violence but wants us to do what Christ called the two greatest commandments.
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no
commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-30)
As followers of Christ and believers in One God, the same God of Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jacob and Mohammad, we
need to work for peace and harmony and not promote hatred and violence as one so called Christian pastor has been
doing this past week.
The kind of action that he is promoting are exactly the tools that Satan uses to divide people who believe in God and
cause them to do evil hoping that they will not seek God’s forgiveness but will come over to the dark side.
As people who claim to love God and believe in the teaching of Christ we must stand up against this kind of unchristian
action and reach out to our Muslim brothers and Sisters seeking a way for us to live in harmony and peace. Doing this
would be acting as God would want us and could very well lead to a time of Peace, Justice, compassion and love that
would be consistent with God’s will. AMEN