24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 15, 2019
Sep 13, 2019
This weekend we celebrated our Parish Feast Day. The Novena journey we took in preparation for the Day gave us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the mystery of the cross in our life. Surely, the cross is our only hope. It is the tree where God’s mercy is demonstrated to the world in a very unfathomable way. With the fathers of the Congregation of Holy Cross, we honor the Exaltation of the Cross when we say, “Ave Crucis, Spes Unica.” “Hail the Cross, The (Our) Only Hope!” It is here that we experience deeply the mystery of God’s mercy that constitutes the teaching from today’s readings. Jesus came to gather the children of God scattered throughout the world. He fulfills this by his death on the Cross.
One of the most challenging steps we struggle with in our daily life is the possibility to forgive, to show mercy. This difficulty is experienced not only towards those who hurt us but also towards ourselves. So often, we say, “I do not know whether I will be able to forgive myself for what I have done.” Sometimes we even doubt God’s mercy given to us in the sacrament of reconciliation where he gives us a spiritual shower to blow out our transgressions and iniquities. In today’s gospel parable, which I like rather to call “The parable of the Merciful Father,” we are given proof to the contrary; that God always grieves when we separate ourselves from Him. Yet his eyes and heart never move from us. It is on the Cross, when he says, “It is finished”, that Jesus fulfills the mystery of mercy which he pours upon us. It is finished, because he took all that was bending you down in shame; “It is finished” because the Father has embraced you, and carried you in his arms to lead you to the house of celebration. This is what we do every time when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist. Here, Jesus tells you, and reassures you that He wants you back; that what matters for him is not your past but your presence here as he covers you with kisses of love and mercy.
What then about us in our different relationships? Does mercy, which we benefit from God, have a place in our hearts when we deal with one another? Surely, while forgiving is divine as is the saying, we truly understand our identity when we take the path of forgiveness and mercy. This is even clearer when we listen to Jesus say, “I need mercy, not sacrifice.” But is not mercy and forgiveness already a sacrifice? one could reply. For us human, it seems to be so; because we have to die to our pride, to our resentments, our grudges in order to look at one another through the lenses of forgiveness and mercy. Today, we are reminded that God always gives us a second chance. Pope Francis puts is boldly when he says, “The name of God is Mercy.” For us then, because we are of God, mercy becomes a question of life and death. As we contemplate the victory of the Cross, we called to be signs of God’s endless mercy in the world.
Trusting in god’s mercy, let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.