C Cycle – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 22

C Cycle – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 22

Lk. 15:1-32

Moses constantly told the Israelites to remember what God did for them.  Freed them from slavery, provide water in the desert, food from the sky, meat when they tired of eating manna, victory in battle and his covenant with them.  You would have thought those things would have always been in their minds and hearts, but it seems we like them can easily become distracted by the events going on around us.  We cannot help but respond to daily challenges and having our minds captured by other things.  

It seems this lack of remaining focused on God is a common flaw in us as we balance our faith life with our life in the world.  Moses and the people reached Mt. Saini in a about 30 days according to the theologians.  God invites Moses to come up the mountain where God makes a covenant to be their God and to bless them if they obey him (EX.19).  As Moses reveals this to the people, they all cry out “all that the Lord spoke they will do” *Ex.19:8).  You should go read this chapter because the people were excited, they heard the “trumpet” sound and realizing the power of God they trembled. They knew what was going on between Moses and God. 

As they waited at the base of the mountain, Moses continued his encounter with God their attention wandered.  They gathered gold items, melted the gold, and recast it into the golden calf.  Why do that when God was still talking to Moses?  You would think they would want to know more about the covenant. What does it mean to be his people and him their only God.  No instead of wanting more of what God is offering their minds wandered because they are humans. Their story is our story. 

How much attention do we give to God when we are waiting for the next revelation. How easily we slip into “doing the things we should not be doing instead of what we should be doing” (Rom.7:15).  We easily see the sin of the Israelites as they forget God is right there speaking to Moses about his desire for them.  How could they be so easily led away from God and focus on something other than God’s plan for them.  So quickly led astray after experiencing the loud trumpet blast, the voice of God from a and turn their attention to something they could feel and touch.    

If only we could have that same experience of God. It would make all the difference in how we live our faith, wouldn’t it.  We would be like Paul in our second reading, acknowledging how wrong his thinking was up to the moment of his encounter with Christ.  If we had that kind of an encounter with God, it should motivate us to look at how we lived our faith and realize how much we are missing.   we would acknowledge our behavior up to that moment was based on an incorrect understanding of who God is and what he desires to do for us.  Paul had that kind of revelation after his encounter with Christ.  Moses had that kind of an encounter with God.  Perhaps the missing piece is our inability to have our eyes opened by the presence of the spirit whom Christ promised would renew our minds to grasp the things of God.  

Our encounter should be as real as all Moses and Paul or all the other giants of scripture.  Mine were certainly opened but up to that point I was blind to the presence of God.  I had my faith life and my worldly life in sync and in order.  Arrogant perhaps, ignorant for sure but the reality of how desperately God desires us to experience his presence is real.  We are far too caught up in practicing our faith and by doing so we are missing the experience of an encounter with God’s mercy, his love, and his forgiveness. 

That is the message of the entirety of the scriptures.   We are constantly drawn to golden calves, and to externals which draw us away from allowing God’s grace to become a reality in our lives.  You must love the way the church chose these three passages to give us the same message of how God desires us to understand the forgiveness he desires to lavish upon us instead of punishing us.  God is waiting to embrace us, and how wicked we are or have been matters. No matter how arrogant or righteous we become, or how far we have ignored him while seeking golden calves.   

God shows his frustration and anger at the Israelites who boldly and confidently said they would do all he required of them.  How arrogant can we be in our opinion of our ability to always do what God desires us to do. Paul was a Pharisee, a disciple and apprentice of one of the greatest Pharisees.  Paul knew the law and the prophets and yet he could not recognize Christ who taught in the synagogues and preached in the streets.  How far off was the thinking of the older brother of the prodigal son.  He believed he was doing God will by his strict obedience to every command of his father.  When all the father desired was his heart, his son to be confident in his love for him even if he failed.  The older brother decided for himself what the fathers will was and never sought to discover how desperately the father wanted him in his presence.

An experience with God makes the difference.  The scriptures are full of stories of God’s desire to touch us in a way that changes us.  The lame walked, the blind given sight, the lepers cleansed, the sinners forgiven, the lost given direction and the list goes on.  There are examples of people who would not allow Christ to change them.  There were those who believed they had a better understanding of what God wanted then Christ.  They were the religious elite, the educated ones, those who depended on the laws to guide their relationship with God.  Talk about arrogance! While all the time God was telling them, “…all they wanted he had, and it was theirs and yet they never asked.” 

An experience of forgiveness like the one the prodigal received, like Paul received, like the woman caught in adultery received, like Peter received, like everyone who seeks will receive.  Today God is reminding us to keep our eyes on what he offers us if only we believe, if only we ask, if only we seek.

1 thought on “C Cycle – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 22

  1. Good morning,

    As I’m a bit behind in responding here and as I love the messages that Deacon Dave brings forth each week, this week I’d like to just say to Deacon Dave that he is a very strong influence in my life. I am so blessed to have Deacon Dave a my spiritual director. I benefit greatly from Dave’s guidance to me.

    Thank you Deacon Dave!

    Like

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