The Christian life consists in carrying-out many small acts of service using the gifts and talents we have been given. Each one of us is given what God knows we need for this life; the crucial part is, that we know how to use what we have for the glory of God and benefit of others. The man who can be trusted in little things will be trusted in great.
The liturgy of this Sunday calls to mind once again the limitless mercy of God: a God who forgives and takes delight in finding and bringing home the lost sheep. We see in the First Reading how Moses interceded with God on behalf of the Chosen People. They had strayed from the Covenant even while Moses was conversing with God on the top of Mount Sinai. Moses makes no attempt to excuse the people’s sin. He relies instead on the ancient promise of God and His great mercy. Many centuries later St Paul was to experience this in his own life, which he describes to Timothy in the words of the Second Reading: I myself am the greatest of sinners: and if this mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people…
In the Gospel of this Sunday, Jesus speaks about the requirements of following Him, and since He has called each one of us, we must be attentive. Whenever a person accepts a great undertaking, make an appraisal of the situation ahead; we look at the road and asses how we might proceed. The Way of Jesus is the Way of the Cross, as he repeatedly reminds us. September is the month of the Holy Cross; the feast is celebrated this Saturday, 14th. We celebrate an instrument of terrible torture and death because by the Cross Jesus triumphs over sin and death. One of the most famous and best-loved images of the Tree of Life is found in the Basilica of San Clemente, Rome.
On every occasion possible, our Lord takes the opportunity to remind the Pharisees of the need for humility, the need to know our place before God. He does this through a variety of teachings, and in the Gospel of this Sunday, in the parable of the banquet. Why is it that our natural inclination is to seek the first place? We all have natural ambition, and there is nothing bad about that, but it needs to be tempered with humility and the true knowledge that we have of ourselves, seeing ourselves all the while, as God sees us. This is what the Readings at Mass this Sunday remind us.