24th Sunday Mass in Ordinary Time

Theme: Standing Firm in God’s Forgiveness

First Reading: Exodus 32:7-14

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51:1-2,6-8,9-11

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-10

Today’s homily started with a story that was shared to Father Jun. It is about an ancient tradition story in Israel where God tested Moses if he could shepherd Israelites from Egypt. As a shepherd, Moses lost one of his sheep and God tested him on what he would do. After two days of looking, he finally found the lost sheep and instead of getting mad, Moses jumped for joy, cuddled the sheep, while kissed it and carried it on his shoulder as they went home. Like many other leaders, Moses also has a lot of weaknesses. But when God saw how he responded to his lost sheep, He saw that Moses will truly be the shepherd of His people. As a leader, he should be strong but at the same time he should possess tenderness of heart toward the sheep. And that is why God chose Moses because of that character he possessed. God tested the person not to show his weakness but that he might find his own strength also.

Two kinds of people are featured in our gospel reading today. The first kind are those who are willing to welcome Christ; and second kind are those who are offended always by Christ’s words. The first ones were the sinners and tax collectors, but when they heard the word of Christ, they welcomed, listened and were interested. The second ones, the Pharisees, were considered to be righteous, the ones who knew  scriptures, the ones who were supposedly “God-fearing people” were offended by Christ’s teachings. Among these kinds of people, which one are we?

The gospel message today is summed up with this: “Jesus revealed the heart of God to all the people.” Jesus is the revelation of who God is. Sinners become interested with God because He reveals how merciful God is. As sinners, when we hear about the mercy of God, we become hopeful. It is a good news for us. But for others, they cannot hear Christ; they did not welcome his words. Why? Because they believe that they don’t sin, they have not done wrong. Church, we will never appreciate the mercy of God until we realize in our own life that we are sinners!

The two parables shared by Jesus today in the gospel reveals the very essence of who God is. He is a God who never gets tired of looking for us. He never stops forgiving our sins when we repent; who would love us in spite of our failures. God delights when a sinner finds his way back to Him; He rejoices when someone  repents and goes back to Him. He doesn’t mind nor count what we have done nor the extent of our sin; He is simply delighted once we turn and go back to Him.

The life of St. Paul displays the mercy of God. Whenever we see him we are reminded that if God can transform and use the worst sinner, He can do the same to me as well. We are called not to judge but to display the mercy of God. Jesus shares a description of God in this way that we may become “God-conscious”. When we become so focused and aware of His mercy, we will not sin as much. And the issue when we sin, is that we hide from God. We hide because we are afraid to be seen by Him. We are never lost to God when we sin; God becomes lost to us, when we sin.

Repentance is the message of God in our scripture reading today. How God would rejoice once we turn from our sin and present ourselves back to Him. We need to acknowledge and take responsibility of our sin. Do not isolate yourself. Instead, realize that life would never get better without God. So, stand up, focus and celebrate the mercies of God for life will only be merrier when we become God-conscious!

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