(Exodus 32.7-11, 13-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)

The church, in the readings of today, invites us to meditate on the mercy of God; and to emulate God’s mercy. In the first reading God showed his mercy to the erring people of Israel. After the intercession of Moses, he relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people. The central theme there is not the sinfulness of Israel, but the mercy of God.

In the second reading Paul sees himself as the greatest beneficiary of the mercy of God. If God has shown him, the greatest sinner, mercy, then there is nobody who cannot receive the mercy of God.

Jesus, in the Gospel reading, described the mercy of God and the joy in heaven over the turning back of a sinner with three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. The parable of the prodigal son is, without doubt, the most popular of the parables told by Jesus. It is recorded only in Luke’s Gospel. The title of the parable is sometimes misleading. It tends to highlight the sin of the boy. But the main issue is not the prodigality of the boy, but the mercy of the father. The father is the hero of the story. The heroic act of the boy is not his prodigality, but his turning back to his merciful father.

The church invites us today and always to come back to the house of the merciful father. Both those whose sins are public and those whose sins are private are called upon to return to God; like the prodigal son. It is also a time to emulate the mercy of God like Moses did. He interceded for his erring people and attracted the divine mercy on them. Paul was shown mercy and he became a dispenser of mercy.

The mercy of God is abundant. Do not deny yourself the banquet of mercy, because it is enough for all of us. One of the ways we can deny ourselves the mercy of God is becoming too judgmental like the Pharisees. We all have sinned against God. Show mercy to those whose sins have become public because we are brothers and sisters. If you cannot show them mercy, do not get offended by the mercy they obtain from God. The heart of God is open to welcome us from our sinfulness and to celebrate us. Remember that the prodigal son walked back to his father’s house, but his father did not walk to him. He rather ran to him. Take a step back to God, he will take many steps to receive and celebrate you.

Happy Sunday!