September 11, 2022
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University's University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 132

Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-32 OR Luke 15:1-10

Praying Ordinary Time

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Today’s readings give us insight as to how we, as Catholics, can deal with disappointment.

In the reading from Exodus, God’s anger was at its peak, and he was ready to undo all the love and attention he had provided the Lost Tribe as it traversed the desert for 40 years and consume them in a fiery blaze. But Moses intervened, and cooler heads prevailed.

The reading from Timothy – a sinner whose behavior was unacceptable but, in the end, mercifully forgiven – echoes this, as well.

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.

And finally, there is the famous parable from Luke about the disappointment a shepherd feels losing just one sheep and the joy that follows when it is found and returned to the flock of 100.

Rare among us is the person who does not have to deal with disappointment daily. Disappointment comes in many forms, and there are a myriad of reasons why it impacts our lives. Maybe the disappointment is as minor as your favorite team not winning a close game, or as major as your long-awaited vacation plans requiring adjustment, due to health concerns.

How we react to disappointment, big and small, is just as varied. For some of us, disappointment turns quickly to anger that we cannot control; while for others, they can quickly put it behind them and focus instead on the bigger picture.

As Catholics, who strive each day to be more Christ-like in how we live our lives and how we present ourselves to those we love, work with, and meet as total strangers, which is the better course to follow?

Patience and understanding are key, but how we get to that point probably requires much prayer on our part. As the passages illustrate so well, God is used to disappointment. He knows our imperfections and weaknesses will be frustrating, but he so readily forgives those who reach out and ask for his continued love and blessing.

Today, should disappointment darken your door and frustration, anger, or even hatred creep into your mind, strive to be more Christ-like in your response. Pray that like Timothy, we, too, may be merciful in our treatment of others and abundant in grace, so that our faith and love in Jesus Christ is displayed through our patience and understanding, all of which is proof positive that Christ lives in us and we in him.

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