HOMILY FOR THE 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: GOD OUR FORGIVING FATHER
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11 2022
(Exodus 32:7-11.13-14, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-32)
Today we celebrate the mercy of God our Father. The first reading presents us with the ungrateful people of Israel who provoke God’s wrath. They make a golden calf to replace God in their life. They turn against him by worshipping the calf. This angers him and he wants to destroy them. After Moses’ intervention, God relents. This is a reflection of the abundance of his mercy. Certainly, the sun does not set on God’s anger. He forgives.
In the gospel, we meet the prodigal son who comes back to his senses and decides to go and ask for forgiveness. Even before he finishes his rehearsed apology, his father embraces him and orders that a party be prepared for him because his son “was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” Nothing else is more important to the father than receiving his son back home, safe and sound. This is another reflection of the abundance of God’s mercy.
Like the prodigal son, we too have been out there wandering in sin. We are, however, invited to set ourselves on a journey back home to the father, where we belong. He will be more than glad to embrace us in his arms of mercy. The elder son is another ‘prodigal son’ in this story; probably even more prodigal than his younger brother. He thinks he has been a better son than his brother. He recounts how faithful he has been. Instead of participating in the banquet, he decides to stay out. He keeps himself outside God’s mercy because he thinks he doesn’t need it. According to him, he has been a righteous son.
When we think we are ok, we destroy ourselves even more because of pride. We become lost forever. And whenever we point accusing fingers at others, we make ourselves judges, and therefore, we distance ourselves from God. The elder son is like the Pharisees who see Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors and immediately begin to point fingers. They forget that they are just as bad as those they are pointing at. But since their sinfulness is hidden, they feel they are righteous. We too become pharisaic whenever we think we are better. Today we are invited to liberate ourselves from this mindset and, in humility, move towards the mercy of God, just like the prodigal son did.
No matter how bad we think we have been, God always remains with open hands to welcome us back home, for his mercy is abundant. Our realisation of our brokenness is the beginning of our healing. Like the younger son, we have to realise that we have not been faithful. We have to admit our sinfulness and make a deliberate move toward the forgiving Father who waits for us patiently. We cannot receive the mercy of God unless we accept that we have sinned. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” It is always a joyful moment for God to see one lost sheep coming back home.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
Fr. Arthur Ntembula
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