Today Jesus shares three memorable parables that address human sin and divine mercy...
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 11, 2022): EX 32:7-11,13-14; PS 51:3-4,12-13,17,19; 1 TM 1:12-17; LK 15:1-32
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Even more that, we learn the joy of accepting God’s forgiveness and allowing Him to lead us in love.
In St. Luke’s Gospel Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is one of the best known and loved of these valuable stories He used to teach His followers. Christ immediately introduces the three main characters by announcing that “a man had two sons.” Against all custom and respect for his father, the younger son demands his inheritance immediately rather than wait until his father’s death. But the father gives him what he wants. He goes to a foreign country where he spends his newly gained wealth “on a life of dissipation.” Even greater disaster follows: famine. The destitute young man, forced to tend swine, is still starving. He decides to go home and ask his father to hire him since he is unworthy to be his son. But he is in for a shock. His father sees him approaching, runs to His child, hugs him, and orders his servants: “Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take let us celebrate with a feast, because his son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found” (Luke 15:22-24). The complete forgiveness and generosity that the father shows his foolish, sinful son reveals the profuse mercy of God. Indeed, the word prodigal when applied to the son defines his reckless extravagance. Yet lavish excessiveness could also be said of the father, not in seeking his own pleasures, but in extending his compassion to one he loves so very much.
And the father’s love is not confined to the son who turns his back on him, but also to the older son who feels ill-used and will not forgive his brother. Moreover, the older son believes that his father does not appreciate his work or obedience -- even though he seems to lack genuine love for his father. Still, his father offers him the same mercy he did to his brother: “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:31-32). Jesus wants us to recognize the depth of God’s love and mercy for each of us, His children, particularly those of us who are lost. We have only to turn back toward Him and He will do the rest. He will find us.