From the Pastor’s Desk | Sept. 12, 2022, | Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
~ Luke 15:18-19
Brothers and Sisters,
Twenty-one years ago, this day was dreadful for America and humanity. On September 11th, the horrors of terrorism and the changes resulting from such violence, like increased airport security and perpetual uneasiness, showed their ugly head. Still, humanity displayed something else that day and in the following weeks. People of all walks of life packed churches, seeking comfort, community, and goodness. Though broken, we came together, seeking peace. Life is like that. When it unravels, it is not uncommon for us to return home.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus shares three parables that all deal with the extreme lengths God the father will go to restore the lost, whether it’s a sheep, a coin, or two very misguided adult children. (Remember, both sons, not just the Prodical Son, had lost their way. After their father offered such extravagant mercy to his younger sibling, the elder son refused to return home too).
God’s abundant compassion is displayed in our first reading as well. Here we find Moses, reminiscent of Abraham, bargaining with the Lord to save Sodom (see Genesis 18), passionately imploring God to give those he brought out of Egypt another chance. Still, despite these “stiff-necked” people’s depraved behavior included worshiping a fake god. The REAL GOD, in his patience, listens to Moses as he reminds God of his promises to make his “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.” True to form, or should I say true to his infinite mercy, the LORD relented and offered no punishment.
As we face the brokenness that is our world, let’s remind ourselves that our God is merciful. This coming week, let’s courageously request the Lord’s protection for our family, friends, those we are learning to love, and those who work to keep us safe, including our military troops, police officers, firefighters, and first responders. May the Lord watch over them and return them home safely to their families!
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett