The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - The Homily

Peter Chrysologus (c.400-450), was bishop of Ravenna Italy. He was highly esteemed by the Empress Galla Placidia, in whose presence he preached his first sermon as bishop. Although many of his sermons have been preserved, above all, he was a pastor and noted for his love of his people. He writes about the parable of the lost sheep that we heard in today’s Gospel.

Finding something we have lost gives us a fresh joy, and we are happier at having found the lost object than we should have been had we never lost it.

Referring to today’s 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. Nevertheless, heedless of the shepherd’s voice Adam 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.”

Christ now reigns over them upon the throne of majesty, for the sin of envy had long since been banished from heaven, together with the devil, and it cannot gain entry there again through the Lamb who took away the sin of the world.

Ever go off the cliff? Ever be in a place where you thought, “I am in big trouble. I’m out here and no one is coming to rescue me. I’m out here alone.”

When people find themselves is a place like this they typically go through several phases. Phase 1 is that you begin to try and rationalize your situation by saying, “Hey, I’m basically a ‘good person.’ I go to church, to haven’t killed anyone. I’ve paid my dues.” However, after a while you begin to realize that - guess what - your dues don’t count.

Phase 2 is when you keep revisiting that time, that situation, that decision, that event over and over again. You won’t let it go. It weighs you down – emotionally, spiritually and physically. And the problem with this is that, because you’re dragging an anchor, you don’t achieve the blessing that God has intended for you.

Bishop T.D. Jakes preaches about this phase in his video here. His main point is that:

Your history is not your destiny.

And forgiveness is the key that with give birth to a blessing.


Like Peter Chrysologus wrote, Christ wants to come into that dark, prison cell and offer you His forgiveness. The trouble is that some people refuse to decide that Christ can forgive them. “No that sin was too big. I’m a bad person. I’ll never get that back. Look at all of the consequences that occurred because of that.”


Your history is not your destiny.

And forgiveness is the key that with give birth to a blessing.


Did the young man get what he deserved? No. He got what his father offered him. Offer God an opportunity. Accept His forgiveness and allow God to take you to a higher - and blessed - place.


Audio version of the homily is here:



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