26th Sunday O.T. (A).
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO RETURN TO GOD.
Today’s Sunday Liturgy of the Word teaches us that OUR GOD, WHO IS ALL GOOD, MANIFESTS HIS LOVE AND POWER ESPECIALLY THROUGH HIS MERCY AND WILLINGNESS TO FORGIVE US OF OUR SINS. This is what we pray in the Opening Prayer of the Mass:
“O God, who make known your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us, and make those hastening to attain your promises heirs to the treasures of heaven.”
· The same idea is manifested not only in the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 24) as we invoke our Lord:
“Remember your mercies, O Lord.
The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not;
Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way.”
· But also in the 1st reading (Cf. Ezechiel 18:25–28) where He reminds us that if a sinner “has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”
God calls us all to turn away from our sins and receive the joy of His Mercy.
WE ARE ALL SINNERS AND WE MUST LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF THE LORD WHO CALLS US TO CONVERSION.
· Our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us in the Gospel (Cf. Mt 21:28–32) to “believe him,” as the “tax collectors and the prostitutes did,” abandoning their old ways, to “hear His voice and follow Him (Alleluia Acclamation)”
· A conversion which leads to the faithful listening and following of Christ is manifested by “having the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (2nd reading: Phil 2:1–11)”
God’s love and mercy is only attained by imitating the humility and obedience of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel which narrates the Parable of the two sons, Our Lord underlines the fact that it is possible for us sinners to change, repent, correct our course and embark on the path which leads to holiness, for He is a merciful God, always willing to forgive those who are contrite of heart.
· St John the Baptist had shown the way to sanctification by proclaiming the imminence of the Kingdom of God and by preaching conversion. The scribes and Pharisees would not believe him, yet they boasted of their faithfulness to God’s teaching. They were like the son who says “I will go” and then does not go; the tax collectors and prostitutes who repented and corrected the course of their lives will enter the Kingdom before them: they are like the other son who says “I will not”, but then does go.
· Our Lord stresses that penance and conversion can set people on the road to holiness even if they have been living apart from God for a long time.
Dear brethren in Christ, while there’s life, it is never too late to return to God. May our falls lead us to rise up again through repentance and not despair. May our sins spur us to contrition and seek God’s mercy who always awaits for our conversion. God wants us to be truly happy and the only way for this is to listen, believe and faithfully follow Our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus stumbles, but his fall lifts us up, his death brings us back to life. To our falling again and again into evil, Jesus responds with his determination to redeem us, with an abundance of forgiveness. And, so that no one may despair, again he wearily raises himself, embracing the Cross. May our stumbles and defeats separate us from Him no more. Just as a feeble child throws itself contritely into the strong arms of its father, you and I will hold tightly to the yoke of Jesus. Only a contrition and humility like this can transform our human weakness into the fortitude of God. St. Josemaria, Way of the Cross, n. 7.”
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Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.