*THE LORD IS COMPASSIONATE AND GRACIOUS
(Saturday March 23, 2019)
The responsorial psalm today describes the real attributes of God when it comes to His dealings with us especially with sinners. It says “The Lord is compassion and love. It is He who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion. His wrath will come to an end; He will not be angry forever. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults. For as the heavens are high above the earth so strong is his love for those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins” (Psalm 102:1-4, 9-12).
I think this summarizes the first reading and the gospel. The parable of the prodigal son is one of the popular and well-known parables that depicts truly the love and mercy of God. No wonder then some biblical exegetes describe this parable not only as a parable of the prodigal son but as a parable of the prodigal Father or parable of the merciful Father. Prodigal in the sense that the father in this parable (that represents God our Father) lavished his love and mercy on this his wayward son without limit. Despite the squandering of his wealth with all sorts of immoral life, the father welcomed his son back without counting on his misdeeds, disobedience and waste of resources he committed.
Even though the son came back to the father out of necessity when he had no option. And the situation he found himself brought him to his senses. The father being so nice and kind never considered whether it was out of necessity that led the son to take the decision of coming back or not. The father focuses on his coming back. He concentrated on the fact that his lost son is found. He never cared to inquire what really pushed the young man to come back or allowed him to recite all those words he practiced to tell him (his father) while he was making the decision in the distant country. This is exactly how God deals with us every now and then. But in the first place, something must push us to come back to the father. If not for any other thing, let us remember God's unquantifiable love for us. If the prodigal son out of necessity returned to the father and the father forgave him out of his generous love and mercy, what about us?
Do we think that God will not even do more than the prodigal father in this parable? God truly loves us and wants us always be with Him by ceasing to do evil and embrace doing good. Prophet Micah in the first reading describes these attributes of God by saying “What god can we compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger forever but delighting in showing mercy? Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins. Therefore, let this period be a time of appreciating God’s love, kindness and mercy by remaining faithful to Him and always doing His will. Doing good is one of the avenues and means of showing our gratitude to God.
Let Us Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and bringing me back to yourself. Help me not to go astray, but to love with you always in love and obedience. Amen.