for Sunday, September 11, 2016
How much we must learn from today's Gospel! How much we must acknowledge that whatever good we have comes from the Lord! How much mercy we must have for others! Our love and our mercy must reflect that of God Himself, who is boundless love and mercy.
We must look at the first reading from the Book of Exodus. God is tired of His people because they are never faithful to Him. Yet God allows Himself to be persuaded by Moses and does not destroy His own people. Are we intercessors? Do we pray for others to be spared? Do we ask God to be faithful to His promises to us? We can only do this if we are praying regularly have a deep and solid connection to the Lord. Such a deep and solid connection never means that we will not faithful. Rather it means that no matter how often we fail, we trust in Him to bring us back to Him. We must do our part, but God is always faithful.
The second reading today is an instance of God being faithful to His people. Saint Paul tells us in the First Letter to Timothy: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost." We can doubt that Paul was any worse of a sinner than we are, but we cannot doubt that God is always present, seeking us out to save us.
The Gospel of Saint Luke today gives us the story of the Prodigal Son, the son who asks for everything of his inheritance, goes off and wastes it, then returns and his father rushes to embrace him. The ungrateful and unworthy son is contrasted to the other son, who is always faithful and yet who grows angry when the father shows his love for the first son, the son who wasted everything but at least came home.
Hardly any of us really want God to be this merciful! We want some kind of measuring device so that we can say who is good and who is not. Yet God Himself knows that the only way to live is with love: love for those who love us and love for those who want to kill us; love for those who are nice and love for those who are not nice; love for those who do well and love for those who always fail. We can be embarrassed by God's enormous love because we often don't want God to love others if they don't seem to deserve it.
This challenges us today: do I deserve God's love? We cannot answer that question by telling Him what we have done. We must answer that question by the way that we live His love in our lives. It is not just doing good things that can save us, but doing good because we know that we are loved. We must return God's love with our love and we must love others as God shows us He loves in this story today.
O God of love, change our hearts so that they reflect your heart, which loves everyone now and always: let us be merciful as our Father is merciful.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Exodus 32.7-11, 13-14
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1.12-17
Gospel: Luke 15.1-32
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: