HOMILY FOR THE 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Timothy 1:12-17
*THEME: OUR FATHER IS MERCIFUL.*
Beloved in Christ, this morning as we gather around the altar of the Lord, Mother Church invites us to reflect on this image of God, namely, a God who is faithful to His vows; God whose love and mercy surpasses His anger and judgement, as against our tendency to go on our own and misuse our freedom.
In this regard, our theme today is to assure us that God loves us unconditionally and He takes all the trouble just to show that He cares. This is clearly seen in the gospel reading of today where;
1. The father gave his younger son the share of his property with no strings attached,
2. He was always waiting for his return, and
3. He goes out and searches for the lost.
Beloved, conversion is not merely about a bad person becoming good but about any person experiencing the love of God. This is in sharp contrast to the elder son who thought being good means just obeying rules and thus became judgemental and accused his father of rewarding wrong doing. (cf Luke 15:29-30). But for the father, the party is to celebrate the return of a son and not what the son has done wrong. (cf Luke 15:32).
In fact, they should put all the past behind them and rejoice as a family, for it is the dawn of a new era. (cf Isaiah 38:17). This is what St. Paul had in mind when he reminds us that we are all products of God’s mercy. (cf 1 Timothy 1:15)
Beloved in Christ, the story of the prodigal son challenges us to answer the question, do I deserve God’s mercy or love? And this question cannot be answered by telling God what we have done but rather how we live this love in our lives. In fact, we are saved not just by doing good, but by doing good because we know we are loved by God. Hence, we are to make a return of God’s love with our love. And it is this that will help us to fulfill the command from Pope Francis to “be merciful like the father” in this Year of Mercy.