Date: Sunday, September 15, 2019
Jesus caused scandal in the minds of some righteous and religious folks. He associated and dined with public sinners (i.e. those who broke the Law or Torah) and tax collectors who were working for the Roman Emperor – a foreign occupying power. Jesus tells three parables: the shepherd looking for a lost sheep; a woman searching for a lost coin; and a father waiting for a wandering wayward son to return home. These parables illustrate a divine dispensation or merciful disposition of God toward sinners. The shepherd, the woman and father are the face of God. Indeed, Jesus exclaims that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”
St. Paul confesses in his Letter to Timothy (2nd reading) that he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated.” St. Paul testifies: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am foremost.” St. Paul writes of God’s patience with him and the ministry of reconciliation entrusted to him in Christ.
At this very difficult time in our Diocese there is a demand for justice, healing and compensation for those deeply harmed by sexual abuse by priests. Rightly we demand structural change and greater inclusion of laity in handling cases. But we must pray for God’s mercy for those who have been abused and their families; for those accused and their families; for the wounded Body of Christ; for our Bishop and for the purification and renewal of the Church. God’s justice and mercy meet at the cross of Jesus.