24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

God’s love and mercy are always with us. Like the shepherd who finds his lost sheep, the poor woman who finds her lost coin, and the generous father who welcomes his lost son, God always welcomes us back with an open heart.

  • To the point: What the shepherd, the woman and the father have in common is having lost something dear to them. When they find what they have lost, they rejoice extravagantly. In the parable of the prodigal son, he is found because he chooses to return to his father’s house: he chooses life. By contrast, the older son — in his anger, resentment, and jealousy — is truly the one who is lost because he refuses to rejoice in his father’s mercy and goodness: he chooses death. The extravagant mercy and goodness of our divine Father urges us to choose life over death.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 15: 1-32) to the first reading: Both readings describe the mercy God extends to sinners, whether the sin is idolatry (First Reading); dissolute living (younger son); or anger, resentment, and jealousy (older son). Such divine mercy begets new life.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Many parents anguish as they watch a son or daughter go astray in life. They will do anything to help their children come to their senses and turn their life around. Parents only want life for their children, although sometimes children seem to choose death for themselves.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 15: 1-32)

The Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus, when you ate with sinners
tongues wagged, and you told about the prodigal son.
Is that what you are –– prodigal son,
wasting your life on us hungry sinners?
Or are you the prodigal father
lavishing kindness on our laggardly selves,
even if we are a long way off;
running to meet us with hugs, kisses,
and fixing of the finest calf, for a feast for us?
Prodigal Son, Prodigal Father and Prodigal Holy Spirit,
We feel awe and wonder at the love that you squander on us.
Thank you.

The First Reading

(Exodus 32: 7-11, 13-14)

But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying,
“Why, O Lord, should your wrath blaze up against your own people?”

Wrath? Blazing up? They did not get wrath,
even though they adored the molten calf.
O God, we worship many alluring things,
and we are surely stiff-necked.
Thank you for your golden covenant,
loving us in spite of ourselves,
with an everlasting love.

The Second Reading

(1 Timothy 1: 12-17)

In me Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him.

Lord, like Paul, we give you many chances
to show forth merciful patience.
Toughen us with abundant graces,
as you toughened St. Paul.
Help us always to listen to you.

Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection