Lectionary Reflections: Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] September 11, 2016

Engaging Faith | Fri, Sep 2, 2016

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

September 11, 2016


Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Luke 15:1-32 or 15:1-10



September 5: Labor Day in the United States

September 8: International Literacy Day

September 11: Anniversary of the Terrorist Attacks of 2001



For all our differences and disagreements, we can experience a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity.

-Pope Francis, Ground Zero Memorial, New York, Friday, 25 September 2015


We want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

-Pope Francis, 1 September 2013


Christ is in search of every human being, whatever the situation! … Jesus wants to save each one. And with a salvation which is offered, not imposed. 

-John Paul II, Message for the Jubilee in Prisons, 9 July 2000


We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.

-Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 14


So tell the earth to shake

With marching feet

Of messengers of peace

Proclaim my law of love

To every nation 

Every race.                                                                   

-Thomas Merton, "Earthquake"


Thoughts for Your Consideration

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 took place 15 years ago today. Airplanes were hijacked. Huge buildings were destroyed. Almost three thousand people were killed. A new feeling of fear and uncertainty entered into the United States. Life in some ways has not been the same since.  A whole series of wars and more terrorism and more violence has unfolded.  The pattern continues today.

In this context we hear the scriptures today and are challenged to learn something new.

The first reading from Exodus is about the process of coming to find a God who is not vengeful, but who is willing to show mercy and forgiveness. It is about finding a God of healing and new life.

Jesus tells three stories to make his point about the mercy of God.  He wants to teach us that God is concerned about redemption and forgiveness. God wants to “save sinners.” God wants to bring people to the fullness of life. God wants to reconcile individuals, groups, and nations. 

Sometimes even religious people have trouble finding the merciful side of God.  So many people fall into the trap of condemning others and showing no mercy.  

We can be tempted to enter into the never ending pattern of violence and revenge in the face of evil.  Nations and groups can be tempted to resort to war or terror rather than understanding, nonviolence, and reconciliation.

The challenge of today’s scriptures is to apply the message of mercy to our image of God and especially to our own way of treating others. (“Be merciful as God is merciful.”)

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

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