Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 14 – 15, 2019
It is no exaggeration to state that we have a lot of stuff. We accumulate, we hoard, and some of us even rent extra storage spaces to hold our stuff. Why is a mystery. Some do it because they had nothing as youngsters, some people just don’t want to get caught short or some just form strong attractions for their things.
Today’s readings try to qualify what we should be worried about, what we should cherish and hold close. I can assure you it’s not our accumulated belongings.
This mania for qualifying and quantifying value has unfortunately been transferred to people. Things were no different in Jesus’ time as rigid class systems ruled the world. Many discussions take place today as to who is worthy to be saved or valued in our American society. God is not immune to these qualifications either. In the first reading God laments the attitudes of these stiffed necked people whom he has chosen and even considers abandoning them in the desert and starting over. In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul reiterates this theme of salvaging the unsalvageable. In God’s eyes there are no unusable, disposable or unredeemable people. Even the young man in the Gospel who asks the unthinkable, his inheritance while his father was still alive. In love, his father ignored the slight and gives him what he wants. Even after he squanders his inheritance the father forgives him and returns him to his family, no questions asked.
How willing are we to mirror that depth of love and acceptance in our world? Are we like the father of the prodigal son and capable of unqualified love? Or are we judgmental, and stiff necked ourselves, incapable of forgiving anyone or even ourselves? Do we judge others and separate the world into categories of worthiness or unworthiness?
This examination of conscience is important because, as the readings today tell us, in God’s Kingdom there are no unsalvageable people, even ourselves.