24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
September 11, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







Look upon us, O God,
Creator and ruler of all things,
and, that we may feel the working of your mercy,
grant that we may serve you with all our heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading  Ex 32:7-11, 13-14

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people,
   whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
   for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
   making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
   sacrificing to it and crying out,
   ‘This is your God, O Israel,
   who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
I see how stiff-necked this people is,” continued the LORD to Moses.
Let me alone, then,
   that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
   “Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
   whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
   with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
   and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
   ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
   and all this land that I promised,
   I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’”
So the LORD relented in the punishment
   he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

℟. (Lk 15:18) I will rise and go to my father.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
   in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
   and of my sin cleanse me.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
   and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
   and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

O Lord, open my lips,
   and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
   a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Second Reading  1 Tm 1:12-17

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
   because he considered me trustworthy
   in appointing me to the ministry.
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.
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
   honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Acclamation before the Gospel  2 Cor 5:19


Gospel  Lk 15:1-10

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
   but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
   “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
   “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
   would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
   and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
   he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
   and, upon his arrival home,
   he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
   ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
   there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
   than over ninety-nine righteous people
   who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
   would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
   searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
   she calls together her friends and neighbors
   and says to them,
   ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
   there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
   over one sinner who repents.”

Reflection Questions

What formsof idolatry most threaten our own society?

How has Christ Jesus displayed all his patience toward you?

What is lost in you?

Catena Nova

Since human weakness is incapable of maintaining a firm step in this changing world, the good doctor shows you a remedy against going astray and the merciful judge does not withhold hope of forgiveness.   It is not without reason that Saint Luke put forward three parables in succession – the sheep who strayed and was found again;  the coin that was lost and found;  the son who died and came back to life.   This is so that this threefold remedy will urge us to take care of our wounds…  The weary sheep is brought back by the shepherd, the lost coin is found, the son turns back and returns to his father, repenting of his waywardness…. Let us rejoice, then, in that this sheep, which went astray in Adam, has been raised up again in Christ.   Christ’s shoulders are the arms of the cross, there it is that I have laid down my sins, on that gallows I have found my rest.   This “sheep” is one according to its nature but not in personality, since all form a single body composed of many in members.   That is why it is written: You are Christ’s body and individually parts of it, (1 Cor 12:27).  (St. Ambrose of Milan)

I have hidden My glory and,
out of My great love for you,
have freely made My richness poor.
For you, I suffered hunger, thirst, fatigue.
I roamed the mountains, ravines and valleys
looking for you, my lost sheep.
I took the name of Lamb, to bring you back,
calling you with My shepherd’s voice.
And I want to give My life for you,
to tear you away from claws of the wolf.
I bear everything so that you may cry out :
“Blessed are You, the one who comes to call Adam.’  (St. Romanus the Melodist)

“Let us consider Christ, our shepherd …. He rejoices in those sheep of His that are around Him and goes in search of those, that stray. Mountains and forests cause Him no fear; He crosses ravines to reach the sheep that is lost. Even if He finds it in a piteous state, He is not angry but touched with pity; He takes it on His shoulders and, from His own weariness, heals the exhausted sheep (Lk 15:4 f.) … With good reason Christ declares: I am the Good Shepherd, I seek out the lost sheep, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal (Ez 34:16). I have seen the flock of humankind struck down by sickness; I have witnessed my lambs wander about where demons dwell; I have seen my flock ravaged by wolves. All this I have seen and have not witnessed it from on high. That is why I took hold of the withered hand, gripped by pain as if by a wolf; I have unbound those whom fever had bound; I taught him to see whose eyes had been shut from his mother’s womb; I brought Lazarus out from the tomb where he had lain for four days (Mk 3:5; 1:31; Jn 9; 11). For I am the Good Shepherd and the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.… This is how He intends to win the affection of His sheep and those who know how to listen to His voice, love Christ. (Basil of Seleucia)

But let us now unfold the hidden meaning of this heavenly parable. The man who owns the hundred sheep is Christ. He is the good shepherd, the loving shepherd, who in a single sheep, that is in Adam, fashioned the whole flock of humankind. He set this sheep in a place of rich pasturage amidst the pleasures of paradise, but heedless of the shepherd’s voice it trusted in the howling of wolves, lost the protection of the sheepfold, and was pierced through by deadly wounds. Christ therefore came into the world to look for it, and he found it in the Virgin’s womb. He came in the body assumed at his human birth, and raising that body on the cross, he placed the lost sheep on his own shoulders by his passion. Then in the intense joy of the resurrection he brought it to its heavenly home. “And he called his friends and neighbors,” that is the angels, and said to them: “Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost.” (St. Peter Chrysologus)

“I have wandered in the desert,
Gone astray in the wilderness,
One among a hundred
As in the parable of the sheep.

The wicked enemy tore it to pieces,
He covered it with incurable wounds,
Hence there is no other cure for the wound
But You, to heal it.

In floods of tears I implore You,
I lift up my cries to my Lord:
O Good Shepherd, come down from heaven,
Go in search of the little flock.

Lord, seek out the fallen coin,
Your image that was lost (Gn 1:26),
That I trampled in the vice of sin
And the stinking mud.

Wash me, Lord, from my filth,
Make my soul pure, as the whiteness of snow (Is 1:18).
Make up the number of the ten coins
As You did for the forty saints [of Sebaste].

Carry me on Your shoulders,
O You who bore the Cross,
Be pleased to raise up my fallen soul.
Give joy to the heavenly host of angels
At the return of a single sinner.” … (St. Nerses Chnorhali)

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes, I sped;
And shot, preciptated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed,
followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat- and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet-
'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’  (Francis Thompson)

As he comes down the mountain with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, Moses finds that Aaron has set up a golden calf for the Israelites to worship. God tells Moses to get out of the way so that his wrath can “burn hot against them.” Doesn’t sound like a good shepherd.  Instead, it is Moses who acts out the part of the good shepherd by interceding with God, as Abraham did earlier to avert the divine wrath from the people. At the end of this same chapter, there is another narration of Moses coming down the mountain. This time, he is so furious he breaks the tablets and then rallies the Levites to his side to slay thee thousand people who were worshipping the golden calf. Although Moses claims to be doing God’s work, what we have is a narrative of human rather than divine violence. Moses doesn’t look like a good shepherd this time, but the morning after this monstrous slaughter, Moses intercedes with God to forgive the people although it is a bit late for the three thousand who were slain. This strange doubling of narrations seems to point to a debate in the Jewish tradition moving in the direction of unveiling God’s love for God’s people…. Jesus the Good Shepherd does not strike dead those who re-enter a sacrificial society that today manifests hardness of heart to the extent of trying to prevent fundamental ministries such as feeding the hungry. Instead, Jesus enters into the heart of the society to bring back all who are lost. Rather than starting a bloodbath, we should intercede for all such people as Moses did and follow Jesus in searching for the lost.  (Abbot Andrew Marr)


American Idols
     Depending on your perspective, one of the more amusing — or bemusing — a feature of recent gatherings of what are billed as “conservatives”  is an almost life-sized, 200-pound fiberglass sculpture of a smiling former president with a body of gold titled “Trump and his Magic Wand.”  One of the people who commissioned the statue, José Maurício Mendoza, has commented how, “It just shows that we all see things the way we want to see things… People worship him.”  Naturally, comparisons to the biblical golden calf were quickly forthcoming, especially from those who saw it as an affront to the supposedly Christian sensibilities of many at these gatherings prompting its creator, Tommy Zegan, to respond,  “I know the biblical definition of an idol. This is not an idol. This is a sculpture.”
     Whatever the motives behind this effigy, it does prompt some reflection on the human tendency to make idols for ourselves — perhaps not of the molten variety Moses destroyed in a rage, or of other materials we regularly meet in the Bible, but certainly of other kinds.  Whether human or material, we humans do often go in search of some supposed agent or symbol of what will guarantee us happiness of prosperity.  So we idolize celebrities whom we imagine are “living the dream”, or billionaires who’ve “got it made”, or any number of other enticements who fuel our envy and whom we “worship” by way of desire.
     Of course, these idols may well prove to have clay feet and leave their votaries with considerable regret.  I have never understood why the disaster of the Second World War has failed to  prevent political figures from receiving unflinching loyalty from followers who seem like members of a cult.  Or fans who are suddenly confronted with the dark sides of celebrities whom they imagined to be among the truly beautiful people.  Or the distressing accounts of fallen religious leaders who attracted huge followings in their megachurches only to discover they were fleecing the flock in various ways.  Or reports of how crass and venal successful entrepreneurs who’ve built business empires can be toward subordinates and, often enough, former spouses.  (I’m not naming names here).
     How much need do we have then of discernment!  Like all good Jesuits, Pope Francis is schooled in the matter of discernment having been formed in their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola’s famous Rules.  He just began a series of talks on discernment during his weekly audience.  As the political season in the United States enters its most intense phase with a continual bombardment of advertising, mudslinging, and endless extolling of the virtues and abilities of candidates along with their alluring promises, Francis’ teaching on discernment comes at just the right time.  But discernment is a continual need in the Christian life, for day-to-day events and even apparent coincidences can all be ways we are being guided by the Spirit — if we learn to listen.   Here is some of what Francis has said so far:

Discernment….involves hard work. According to the Bible, we do not find set before us, pre-packaged, the life we are to live. No! We have to decide it all the time, according to the reality that comes. God invites us to evaluate and choose: He created us free and wants us to exercise our freedom. Therefore, discerning is demanding. (August 31, 2022)

This is what we must learn: to listen to our own heart, to know what is happening, what decision to make, to make a judgement on a situation, one must listen to one’s own heart. We listen to the television, the radio, the mobile phone; we are experts at listening, but I ask you: do you know how to listen to your heart? Do you stop to ask: “But how is my heart? Is it satisfied, is it sad, is it searching for something?” To make good decisions, you need to listen to your heart. (September 7, 2022)
     Of course there are times when something happens to us more in the nature of a “boom” as Francis relates about St. Ignatius’ conversion following an injury in battle when all he had to read were lives of the saints.  “Discernment is the aid in recognizing the signals with which the Lord makes himself known in unexpected, even unpleasant situations, as the leg wound was for Ignatius. A life-changing encounter can arise from them, forever, as in the case of Ignatius.” (Ibid).  Being a captive audience, so to speak, turned his life completely around.
     Something similar happened to Paul.  A lack of discernment on his part led him to persecute the followers of Jesus when a “boom” went off in his life.  I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, he says, 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 (II).  If it weren’t for recognizing those “unexpected signals,” he would never have become the gospel’s greatest emissary and in all likelihood we would not be here today.  Such is the importance of discernment.


Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Web Site)

For the Church: that we may recognize the length and depth of God’s love for us and reach out to all who have become estranged from God or the Christian community.

For the ministers of the Gospel: that they may spend themselves in seeking out and searching for the alienated, estranged and despairing so that they may share the Good News of God’s love and mercy.

For all who are alienated from themselves, from others, or from God: that God’s love may break the walls of separation, warm the coldness of isolation and lead them to a new beginning.

For all run away and missing children: that God will guide and protect them, and open the path for them to return home.

For all recovering from floods, wildfires, or hurricanes, particularly the people of the Bahamas: that God will give them strength, heal their wounds and fears, and speed the resources that they need to rebuild their lives.

For healing of our common home: that God will guide us in purifying the air and cleaning the water so that all may live in healthy environments.

For those inquiring or searching for God: that they may find a welcoming community which will support them in their search and share the Gospel with them.

For healing in society: that God will heal the wounds caused by prejudice and discrimination, and open our hearts to gifts that each community brings to society.

For an end to violence: that God will guide national and local leaders in developing policies to end violence in neighborhoods and community centers.

For peace: that God will turn hearts from violence and terrorism and help people to use their energy to defeat poverty and disease.

Undaunted you seek the lost, O God,
exultant you bring home the found.
Touch our hearts with grateful wonder
at the tenderness of your forbearing love.
Grant us delight in the mercy that has found us
and bring all to rejoice at the feast of forgiveness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)



When some kind shepherd from his fold,
Has lost a straying sheep,
Through vales, o'er hills, he anxious roves,
And climbs the mountain's steep.
But O the joy! the transport sweet!
When he the wanderer finds;
Up in his arms he takes his charge,
And to his shoulders binds.
Homeward he hastes to tell his joys,
And make his bliss complete:
The neighbors hear the news, and all
The joyful shepherd greet.
Yet how much greater is the joy
When but one sinner turns;
Jesus receives them in his arms
And knows them for his sheep.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn

The King of love my Shepherd is, Whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am His And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow, My ransomed soul He leadeth And, where the verdant pastures grow, With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, But yet in love He sought me And on His shoulder gently laid And home rejoicing brought me.

And so through all the length of days Thy goodness faileth never. Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise Within Thy house forever.