24TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
In our reading from the Gospel of Luke on this Sunday we hear the story of the Prodigal Son. This story is all about the mercy of God for all of us. It is also about us seeking the mercy of the father while not being afraid to say that we were wrong in a certain situation. At times the steps necessary for our walk back to the Father may seem too many and too arduous for us and we hesitate even to make the first move. Perhaps it is only when we see, like the Prodigal Son, that we are then willing to rouse ourselves to say sorry and to take the path of conversion that leads to the merciful embrace of our heavenly Father, so rich in mercy. When we make even the slightest effort in sorrow, with God’s grace, it is then we see the Father waiting with love to embrace us and welcome us home. Rejection of the love and presence of his father, in the communion of life and love as a family, was a terrible choice for the prodigal son. He desired things over people, his share of the inheritance in preference to a life in communion with the father who gave him life and loved him. He wanted the father to be as if dead to him. Having said that let us remember that God celebrates every time that we return to him. Jesus said, “I tell you that there will be more celebration in heaven over one sinner who repents then over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” The tax collectors and sinners did not come to hear the Pharisees and scribes, because they knew that they would find only judgment. They came to hear Jesus, because he was happy that they wanted to change their lives. God does not give up. He will not give up on us, calling us to him personally. Seeking us out individually.Nor does He give up on anyone, even those who have been far from the faith, from morality. He calls us all to join Him in the joy of His Presence, the Joy of the Banquet of the Lord. The return of those who have had been away is a time for celebration. Maybe greed, lust, anger, pride, some sin or other, convinced them to leave the warmth of the family. The cause of their leaving no longer matters. They have returned. The family is back together. We need to celebrate. We need to remember that no matter who we are that all of us need the loving mercy of our God.