Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
September 16, A.D. 2007
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-32 or 15:1-10
A reflection on today's Scripture:
There's a story about a beggar who came to a church rectory one day.
The priest listened sympathetically until the man told him he hadn't been to church for years. The beggar seemed so indifferent about it that the priest lost his temper and threw him out. That night in a dream, God appeared to the priest and upbraided him. "I've put up with that old man for seventy years, and you couldn't even show some patience for ten minutes!"
Our readings this week are all about God's patience—first, with the Israelites when they panicked at Moses' absence on the mountain, and made a golden calf as a substitute for the One True God. At the very time God was presenting Moses with the Ten Commandments, they were breaking the first one! It was Moses, of course, who cooled God's anger, so that God relented, and gave the Israelites a second chance.
In the second reading, we read about God's patience with Paul (then called Saul), who was murdering the new Christians with great zeal. Paul tells us that Christ came to redeem sinners, and mercifully treated him "so that in me, as the foremost (sinner), Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life."
In the Gospel, we have the story of a lamb, a coin and two brothers that were lost. There are some beautiful paintings of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, pulling that poor lamb out of a thorn bush, or carrying the exhausted and trembling lamb on his shoulders. The second story about the woman sweeping the house for a single coin, then throwing a party in her joy, seems a bit exaggerated to us today, but we certainly get the idea that Jesus is filled with happiness when someone like us, not much more important than a small coin, comes back to our senses.
The third story is the most famous, the one about the Prodigal Son. The spendthrift, younger son, can't even get his carefully-rehearsed speech out of his mouth, before the Father smothers him with kisses, and treats him like a returning hero.
We're not so sure of his angry, resentful older brother. The tearful father could not persuade him to come to the party! Was he lost?
Which one do I resemble?
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore --
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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