YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: JESUS CARES
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Lk. 14:15-25) Thursday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel the reactions to Jesus’ teaching were different. Sinners and tax collectors were being drawn by Him while the scribes and Pharisees were complaining. It was a reflection of how Jesus and the religious leaders were coming across the people specially the sinners. Jesus presented to the sinners a healing God. God cares for them and would come to them to make them worthy of His company.
It is the mistake of many religious leaders to communicate to their faithful that they must be cleaned first before approaching the Lord. Jesus clarified this by showing them that God is a healing God. precisely, in their sinfulness, God will approach them and invite them for healing and conversion. For what kind of God will He be if He can only be approached by holy people? This seems to be the position of the Pharisees. One must be clean first before one is worthy of God’s favour.
Jesus’ mixing with sinners and tax collectors made Him popular to the people. He met with Matthew, Zaccheus, Magdalene, and many sick people who were also known to the people as sinners.It was something new to them. The Pharisees never approach them much more dealt with them. They were considered outcast. They had been judged and rendered unworthy of mixing with the community.
Jesus said, “I have come not to call the righteous but sinners, to repentance.” He likened himself to a doctor who attends not to the healthy but to the sick. In the same way, Jesus came to heal the sinners. He wanted them to experience salvation.
In the same way, we sinners ought to approach God rather than abandon Him. Yes, we are ashamed of ourselves and maybe unworthy of His love. But where do we go? Leaving the Lord would be destructive for us. While we are truly guilty of sin, we dare to seek Him for He is the only one who can save us from the situation.
The parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son depict the kind of God we have. God is a loving Father who is more concerned of bringing back sinners to their original dignity rather than shaming and punishing them. Not that there is no justice from God. We have to note that sin itself is already a big punishment. If a sinner is truly contrite, God is just too happy to welcome them back.
So, what are we waiting for? Will we reject, disregard, forsake, abandon, or make God wait? Time is not on our side. We are graced with a patient and ever loving God. Let us not miss the opportunity. Like the prodigal son, let us humble ourselves before our Father, accept our sins and resolve not to sin again. God, our father, will just be willing to accept us back. And, unlike the elder brother, let us be one with God the Father in welcoming our lost brothers and sisters. Who knows, the sinner we are actually talking about is none other than us!