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In the gospel of this 17th Sunday in ordinary time, year A (Matthew 13:44-54) Christ continues to use parables to teach about what the Kingdom of God would be like and God’s determination to exercise patients with us so that none would mistakenly be lost. As Scripture says, “The Lord is…patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9) and in Ezekiel 33:11, it says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” God wants everyone to turn to him and receive forgiveness, life, and restoration. He looks at what we are and will become, not what we have been. That is why they say, “There is no saint without a history and there is no sinner without a future.” Scripture says: “When the righteous man [or woman] turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die [be condemned] and if the wicked man [or woman] turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live” [ be saved]. So, God’s patience is His long-range plan and an opportunity for us to turn out to be good.

The truth is that past good deeds will not save anyone who decides to turn to a life of sin. We may be tempted to think that if we have done enough good deeds, we can hold on to the sins that we don’t want to give up, and that will be okay. We may even sometimes think that as long as the good we do outweigh the bad, we should be okay. My friends, trying to be good in some areas and deliberately being bad in others will not cut it. A true and real lasting relationship with God requires wholehearted love and obedience. Our love for God should always lead us to good deeds and readiness to ask Him for forgiveness whenever we fail.

Let us always be reconciled with God, with self, and with others, for we do not know the day, the hour, or the place, when the good Lord will require us home. Every single hour we breathe is a God-given opportunity to turn to him and be saved. May the grace of God bring us salvation.

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