A Sunday Reflection

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle C)

There is a well-known English hymn called “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”. That is precisely what today’s readings are all about. The author, Frederick William Faber, was a convert from Anglicanism and friend of Blessed John Henry Newman, himself a convert who will be canonized on October 13. It is as if converts experience the mercy of God in a particular way.

We, on the other hand, seem to take God’s mercy towards us for granted, and maybe even begrudge it to others: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Lk 15:2).

What comes to mind when reading the parable of the prodigal son—or rather, of the merciful father? We all want to be that son: forgiven, embraced, welcomed with open arms. Yet, the Lord calls us to be the father of the story as well, not just by forgiving but by pleading for forgiveness for others, as Moses does in the first reading (Ex 32:11-13).

St. Paul says in the second reading that he has been “mercifully treated” (1 Tim 1:13). If we look deep within, we will find that we also have been mercifully treated. Let us extend that mercy to all we encounter this week. God bless you.

Fr. Luis R. Largaespada

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Prayers for the Dead. The Bible Answers (IV)

DID THE APOSTLES PRAY FOR THE DEAD?

The apostles did pray for the dead. They had the complete Bible, not the one that the United Biblical Society refashioned in the 19th century, removing seven books from the Old Testament.

They knew that we can pray for the dead, as we see in 2 Mac 12:38-46, where we can read the following: “Thus [Judas] made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin” (2 Mac 12:46).

The apostles knew their Bible, and they knew that dust returns to the earth but the spirit returns to God (Cf. Eccl 12:7). They also knew Jesus’ teaching, that the soul does not die with the body: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” (Mt 10:28).

They know that it is right and good to pray for the dead. For us Catholic, it is one of the works of mercy.

Jorge Luis Zarazúa, Diez extendidas dudas (resueltas), Translated from the Spanish original, appearing in es.aleteia.org, January 9, 2019. With permission.

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