Today’s readings invite us to believe in a loving, patient, merciful, forgiving God. The Good News Jesus preached was that God is not a cruel, judging, punishing God. He is our loving and forgiving Heavenly Father Who wants to save everyone through His Son Jesus. He is always in search of His lost and straying children, as Jesus explains in the three parables of today’s Gospel.
Scripture lessons summarized: Today’s first and second readings and Responsorial Psalm (Ex 32:14 + Psalm 51+ 1 Tm 1:16) point to God’s patience with his wayward children, and the Gospel selection (Lk 15:6,9-24) demonstrates His festive joy at their return. In today’s first reading, taken from Exodus, Moses is imploring a forgiving God to have mercy on the sinful people who have abandoned Him and turned to idol-worship. He reminds God of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to show mercy to His unfaithful people. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 51) is the song of the sinful man returning to God to seek His mercy. In today’s second reading, Paul tells Timothy that, although he, Paul, had been the greatest of sinners (as the former persecutor of the Church), God has shown great mercy towards him.
Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel has been called “the Gospel within the Gospel,” because it is the distilled essence of the Good News about the mercy of our forgiving Heavenly Father. The whole chapter is essentially single parable, the “Parable of the Lost and Found,” with three parable illustrations: the story of the lost sheep, the story of the lost coin and the major story of the lost son. These stories remind us that we have a God who welcomes sinners and forgives their sins whenever they return to Him with genuine contrition and resolution. The Hebrew term forrepentance, teshuvá, means a return to God by a person who has already experienced God’s “goodness and compassion” (Ps. 51).
1. We need to live every day as our merciful God’s forgiven children: Let us begin every day offering all our actions for God’s glory and praying for the strengthening anointing of the Holy Spirit so that we may obey God’s holy will by doing good and avoiding evil, and try to live in God’s presence everywhere. Before we go to bed at night, let us examine our conscience and confess to God our sins and failures of the day, asking His pardon and forgiveness. Let us resolve to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation if we have fallen into serious sins. Let us continue to ask for God’s forgiveness before we receive Jesus in Holy Communion during the Holy Mass. Thus, let us live a peaceful life as forgiven prodigal children, getting daily reconciled with God our merciful and forgiving Father.
2. Let us ask God for the courage and good will to extend His forgiveness to others: Let us realize the truth that our brothers and sisters deserve and expect from us the same compassion, kindness, and forgiveness which we receive from our merciful God. As forgiven prodigals, we must become forgiving people, for Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us pray also for God’s Divine mercy on all of us who have fallen away from God’s grace. Let us open our eyes to see and ears to hear that Jesus is welcoming us back home!