[NOTE: The readings, gospel, and propers for this day are taken from the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time since the 15th Sunday’s gospel would be repeated on the Solemnity of Brotherly Love]
Trust in Jesus.
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
I am so thankful that we have joined together in worship this Sunday as we once again celebrate the confidence we have in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Last week we began celebrating that confidence. If we trust in Jesus and take the risks He prompts us to venture, all turns out well (even if it seemingly doesn’t).
You see, our faith-based trust is not about specific accomplishment as we see it, but about walking the gospel path Jesus laid out. We repent of sin, we believe in Him, we join in worship and fellowship, and we proclaim Jesus in every aspect of our lives. In doing so all outcomes in Jesus are the best. Trusting in Jesus gives us ultimate victory, a place of honor in the Father’s house.
But what happens if we fail to live up to God’s call, to Jesus’ gospel, to the Holy Spirit’s promptings?
Today’s reading and gospel tell us of a seeing and seeking God whose heart, i.e., His whole self, longs to embrace us and forgive us for as St. Paul says – Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – we who fail from time to time.
In Exodus, Israel rebels and rejects God for a cold metal statue of nothing. The God Who saves was rebuffed. The God Who stretched out His mighty arm in power to free and save His people was rejected for depravity. He saw it all, it was all done right in front of His holy mountain, right at His front door. Knowing God’s holiness and justice must be satisfied, Moses pleads for his people and God relents of the punishment they deserved. His seeking heart of compassion and mercy prevails.
St. Paul knew God’s seeing and seeking heart so well. In writing to the Church at Colossae, he recalls all the wrong he had done, his life as a blasphemer and a persecutor, his very arrogance that separated him from God. In recalling it all Paul shows us the reality of God’s mercy made fully evident in Jesus who called him out of sin, who freed him by grace alone, and made him His minister.
Jesus’ parables today give us an image of the seeking and seeing God. He is the caring shepherd in search of the lost lamb. He seeks the lost coin. In both cases the work of seeking and seeing is consistent, it does not stop because God does not stop.
As with the prodigal son, and his father, again a symbol of our Father, we experience the constancy of the Father. He awaits our trust, our step toward Him, our testimony of confidence in His abundance, and our effort to work again for His Kingdom.