Mercy is the theme that runs through the readings today. In the first reading from Exodus 32, God wants to punish his people, wipe them out, in fact, for turning their backs on him. But Moses begs for mercy for the people, and God relents. In the second reading from 1 Timothy 1, St. Paul recounts how merciful God has been to him, the foremost of sinners.
In the Gospel reading from Luke 15, we see the story of the prodigal son. Interestingly, the story of the prodigal son could just as properly be called the story of the merciful father. It is the story of a son who goes astray, who turns his back on his father, his family, his heritage. He squanders everything on cheap booze and women. Then he comes running back to daddy, tail tween his legs, begging for mercy. The father would have been dead to rights to tell the kid to get lost. But that’s not what a loving father does. He welcomed him back into the family.
Of course, the father in the story represents our heavenly Father. How often do we act like spoiled brats? How many times have we turned our back so that we could go our own way, only to fail miserably? Like the son in the story, we don’t deserve mercy. And like the father in the story, Abba shows us mercy anyway. No matter how far we stray, He’s always there, patiently awaiting our return.
Father, you know and we know that we don’t deserve your mercy. Yet you lavish it on us. We come to you again, thanking you for welcoming us back into the family again. Amen.
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