(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, September 11, 2016)
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our readings this week are all about God's patience. They're also about God's incredible forgiveness. First, it was with the Israelites, whom He had brought through the desert. When they panicked at Moses' absence on the mountain, they made a golden calf as a substitute for the One Tme 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. God relented of His anger, forgave the Israelites and gave them a second chance. In the second reading, we read about God's patience with Paul 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 most famous, the one about the Prodigal Son, the younger son, who 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. He could well sing for the rest of his days, "I once was lost but now am found." We're not so sure of his angry, resentful older brother. The tearful father could not persuade him to come into the party! But the father forgives him, too.
How about us, how about me? I often have little patience when God doesn't answer my prayers right away. I’m impatient with people who do not measure up to my standards. My impatience can offend and discourage family members. Just remembering God's forgiveness of my sins should help me to be much more patient with my (parish) family’s members and friends.
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor