16.09.2023 — Mercy for Great Sinners

23rd Week in Ord. Time, Saturday – 16th September 2023 – 1 Tim 1,15-17; Lk 6,43-49

Mercy for Great Sinners

The first reading presents God’s mercy to the sinner and Paul as a striking example of it. He continues his testimony with the statement to remember, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” This is a saying that became well known in the early churches and that no one should doubt Paul’s conversion. It is simply Paul’s expression of his firm belief. As Paul matured in his faith, his writings reflected a man who transitioned from being proud, to a new believer, to a mature follower who saw himself in complete need of God’s grace. He shares with Timothy how he has turned from being the most ardent opponent of Jesus’ message to one of the most dramatic proponents of a relationship with Jesus and his followers. It looks as if he was troubled in his conscience. If he has received mercy and forgiveness for his past – for being chosen personally by Christ as apostle – it is because Jesus Christ meant to make him a striking example of his inexhaustible patience with sinners everywhere, who threw themselves at God’s mercy. Reflecting on these words, we can recall how we ourselves have experienced the mercy and utmost patience of Christ our Lord, even though we have failed many times in our service to him and in loving those around us. And we need to cultivate that same compassion and patience in our own dealings with those who fail in their Christian and human values.