Typically the first reading has been chosen to connect to the Gospel passage. For this weekend of OT 24 C we have the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, complemented by the first reading from Exodus in which we have the incident of Israel’s rebellion in the gold bull and Moses’ subsequent bargaining with God. It would seem the lost son is rebellious against his father, and while the temptation is to see that son forever cast out, the voice of mercy overcomes and reconciliation begins. At least that’s what I’m guessing are the connections.

The golden calf is the apis bull of ancient Egyptian fertility rituals, the worship of material wealth, property in the sense of strength, and fertility.. The scene begins on the mountain top with a conversation between Moses and God. There are several of these “argument” narratives in the Bible, in which God relents in His mercy.

The father in the Gospel is merciful toward both his sons. it is actually the son who remained who is ironically caught up in the wealth of his father his strength, and his rights. The father’s plea puts all these things in the light of our capacity for reconciliation and thereby changes the dynamic of the status quo for a new reality. The three parables of Luke 15 are examples of God’s providential care over us.

God is the one who grants wealth, strength, and descendants to his people, as we read in the Exodus text.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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