We hear in this Gospel proclamation (Lk. 15: 1-32) that the Pharisees and scribes were complaining when tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus. They said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So the Lord addressed them with three parables, the Parable of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son. These stories show how God, represented by the shepherd, the woman, and the father, respectively; looks for the insignificant sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. In earthly language, it may not be worth it but for God, every soul is important. God loves you immensely that He will take great lengths to reach out and to wait for you. He will be patiently waiting despite your constant wavering and fickle-mindedness. This calls to mind Isaiah 49: 15, which says,
“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
He just loves you so much, even more than a mother loves her infant.
In the First Reading (Ex. 32: 7-11, 13-14),
After Yahweh said,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is, ” continued the LORD to Moses. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.”
But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, “Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand?”
Moses was able to convince God, who, in His great mercy and compassion for His chosen people, relented in the punishment He had threatened to inflict on them. Similarly, what is also clear in the Parable of the Prodigal Son is that the son repented and asked for forgiveness,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
Thus, before God can rescue you from sin and its effects, you have to in all humility ask pardon and forgiveness for your transgressions, so that the well of mercy and compassion will flow into you. When you do that, there is great rejoicing in Heaven! Note that in those times, a typical father wouldn’t do what the father in the parable did, that is, to run to his son, embrace him and kiss him. No, that isn’t how fathers in Jesus’ time behaved. And yet, to symbolize God’s deeply loving nature, Jesus illustrated Him that way in this parable.
This Sunday, let us pray that we’ll have the audacity to acknowledge our faults and failures before the Lord and with humility ask forgiveness from Him, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of Fear of the Lord, that we be filled with a sovereign respect for God, and make us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin.
“Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.” (Ps. 51: 3)