Sunday, September 11, 2016 Lectionary 24 Introduction
The grumbling of the Pharisees and the scribes in today’s gospel is actually our holy hope: This Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. That our God wills to seek and to save the lost is not only a holy hope, it is our only hope. As Paul’s first letter to Timothy reminds us, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Thanks be to God.
First Reading: Exodus 32:7-14
While Moses is on Mount Sinai, the people grow restless and make a golden calf to worship. Today’s reading shows Moses as the mediator between an angry God and a sinful people. Moses reminds God that the Israelites are God’s own people and boldly asks mercy for them.
Psalm: Psalm 51:1-10
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love. (Ps. 51:1)
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
The letters to Timothy are called the Pastoral Epistles because they contain advice especially intended for leaders in the church. Here the mercy shown to Paul, who once persecuted the church, is cited as evidence that even the most unworthy may become witnesses to the grace of God.
Gospel: Luke 15:1-10
Jesus tells two stories that suggest a curious connection between the lost being found and sinners repenting. God takes the initiative to find sinners, each of whom is so precious to God that his or her recovery brings joy in heaven.