To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!
In today’s Responsorial Psalm, we prayed, “a clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew in me.”
On commentator of today’s Psalm 51 has said that this line, should come with a warning label: “The side effects of praying like this are unpredictable and often uncomfortable. If it works, you will never be the same.”
Note what we are praying for today! Usually we might pray for a favor from God that will change our circumstances or those of others. (Give health to the sick; Let it be a blizzard tomorrow, I didn’t do my book report for English Class, please God no school for at least a week!)
In Psalm 51, we begin by admitting that what we want changed is OURSELVES! “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew in me.”
In Psalm 51, we begin by admitting that what we want changed is our way of being, of acting, of seeing things.
Psalm 51 has us admitting that our hearts are less then what we want them to be.
Psalm 51 asks God to change, to transform our very desires so that our HEARTS may become larger and filled with Integrity.
In Paul’s letter today, Paul admits to his horrendous errors of the past. Paul the Persecutor of Christians now rejoices in God’s mercy. There is no doubt that Paul, a sinner, appreciates but knows first hand about the mercy of God, and wants the message to be shared with all and by all.
In the story of the one lost sheep, we hear Jesus ask the group, “What one among you would not leave the 99 and go after one stray?”
And the sane answer to his question is, “none of us would do that! Why risk 99 for the sake of one?”
One of today’s reminders to us is God’s first concern is always for the lost!
That includes US, whether we have brought it upon ourselves by straying or through the self-righteousness of thinking we are better than others or we have to earn God’s love, mercy…
To pray today and any day for a change of heart is to risk a conversion like that of St. Paul or the self-righteous zealot or even the Prodigal Son (about whom we did not hear today, since we used the shorter gospel reading)
Their hearts changed when they realized that God delights in them!
God delights in them not because they never strayed, but because they got on the road toward home – toward God…
May one of our daily prayers always be for ourselves, “a clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew in me.”