I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith. Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.
Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if 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 who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life. To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2nd reading for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul claims for himself the title of the greatest sinners. Perhaps in our hearts we may consider we ourselves might have a certain claim to that title, to our shame.
But Paul gives us, and all sinners, reason to take fresh heart and not give up on ourselves or each other…
Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
It should be to our shame that we are sinners, so resistant to God’s healing and love; so perverse as even to work against God’s healing and love…
But nothing stops God seeking to help us on to wholeness and life.
Photograph (c) 2018, Allen Morris. The Prodigal Son. Etching by Galle after Heemskerk. Barber Institute 2018