Some beautiful imagery in today’s first reading from Micah 7. We see that God “delights in clemency…will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.” Then Psalm 103 reminds us that “The Lord is kind and merciful.” And speaking of kindness and mercy, our Gospel reading is from Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son.
You know the story…a son wants his inheritance right away. So the father gives it to him and he promptly goes off and squanders everything in short order. He returns home in shame, only to be welcomed back by his loving father. His older brother, though, is quite peeved at these happenings. The characters in this story are all so rich. I don’t know about you, but at different times in my life, I relate closely with all of the characters. I have been a schlub of a son, squandering the inheritance of my heavenly Father. I have been a jealous brother, harboring a grudge against those that I thought were “unjustly forgiven.” And I have been a loving father, welcoming my kids back into the fold after they screwed up.
Like the father in the story, our heavenly Father is always ready and willing to welcome us back. He waits for us night and day, day and night, hoping beyond hope that we will find our way home. And when we do…well, it’s party time! Today as you read this story, put yourself in the place of all of the characters in the story. When we do, we will be better able to empathize with others, and ourselves, when we encounter these situations in real life.
Father, we thank you for waiting for us on our journeys away from you. Show us the way back, as you welcome us with open arms. Amen.