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BULLETIN: September 11, 2022

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

If we were reflecting on all of today’s scriptures and wanted to come up with one intimate name for God, perhaps it would be “God of Second Chances.” Over and over we see examples of God offering just that. In Exodus, the Lord is frustrated by the behavior of the people, and Moses, speaking very boldly, has to talk God into calming down and recalling the covenant with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Israel. Psalm 51, “The Miserere,” is the great psalm of repentance and cleansing. Take the time to read and pray with the whole psalm at your leisure. Paul confesses his own blasphemy and arrogance, and how Christ is using it now. In the extensive Gospel from Luke we experience Jesus using parables to tell about the widow and the lost coin, the shepherd and the lost sheep, and the lost son and a loving father’s welcome.


In the 70s there was a popular Folk Mass song by Joe Wise, “Take All the Lost Home.” It is like our Gospel reading today. For truly, we’ve all had moments when we have lost our way and needed others to get us back on track. Perhaps this means reconnecting with someone we once knew and making amends, or seeing a therapist to make things right. Maybe it means finally seeking help to stick with the diet and exercise plan, or joining a 12-step program to deal with an addiction. Could it be time to meet with a financial expert to manage credit card debt, or go to confession or meet with a spiritual director to find your way home spiritually? It is hard to ask for help or admit we are lost. We dread the reactions of others, thinking they will be angry, hurt, or defensive. We feel shame. Sometimes people hold grudges for years because neither they nor another will break down and make the first move. We feel fear. This sets us up for the classic story of the prodigal father, where we see two possible outcomes.


The son returns home and, expecting the worst, confesses his sinfulness. His brother has an angry, self-righteous response, but the Father is full of joy and mercy. Such is the case in all the Gospel parables today. We hear God say, “You are the one who is important.” There is another poignant song by Brian Flynn entitled “The Prodigal Father” that presents the perspective of the parent waiting and worrying about their lost child, watching the road and praying for the child’s return. And if for some reason your own family will not accept you, you will find that there are many intentional families, friends, and parishes waiting with open arms to welcome you. Or perhaps you can offer the same welcome to another returning soul.

Today’s Readings: Ex 32:7­–11, 13–14; Ps 51:3–4, 12–13, 17, 19; 1 Tm 1:12–17; Lk 15:1–32 [1–10]

Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co., Inc.

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