Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the passages of the Scriptures, our attention and focus are brought on the mercy and compassionate nature of Our God. This we heard first of all from the words of the prophet Micah who spoke of God’s love and guidance for His people as their Lord and Shepherd, and then followed by the famous parable of the prodigal son in our Gospel passage today, a story that all of us are certainly familiar with.
In the first reading we heard of the prophet Micah who spoke of the Lord as the Shepherd of the people of Israel, as the One Who guides the people through and provides for them all throughout their history, reminding of His great deeds and wonders especially when He brought out the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, protecting them from their enemies and destroyed all those who opposed and wanted to defeat them.
The prophet Micah was also speaking in the manner of a prayer, asking God to be merciful on His people just as He had been merciful with them in the past, forgiving them their sins and turning them over a new lease of life when they regretted their sins and repented from those wickedness they have committed. The prophet also spoke to God of the promises and the Covenant which He had made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all of His faithful servants, to turn away from His anger and be merciful on their descendants.
Through all these, and linking to what we certainly know in the parable of the prodigal son, we can see how God indeed is not an angry and fearsome God that many of us often thought, but rather, a loving, compassionate and merciful God Who wants each and every one of us to be reconciled to Him. The prodigal son in the parable, which represents us as the sinners, separated from the father’s love, as the father represents God, shows us that no matter how worried or scared one may be to be reconciled to our loving Father in heaven, the truth is that He loves us even greater than He despises our sins.
Yet, this is where we must understand that unless we make the effort to return to the Father, even in shame and humiliation, we can never find the path to reconciliation with Him. The younger son had squandered off his portion of inheritance, and did all sorts of vices and wicked things during his time in the foreign land, and when he ran out of everything, he resolved after consideration and deliberations, to return to his father even though he had to swallow his pride and lose his face, to be humiliated and even to beg his father to treat him just like one of his father’s servants.
In all of that, we can see how the prodigal son summoned the courage and the strength to journey back to his father in repentance and regret, willing to humble himself that he might be reconciled to his father. And this is what all of us must also do as we journey towards God, our loving Father and Creator, and embrace His generous offer of love and mercy. Just as the father of the prodigal son welcomed his long lost son so passionately when they were reconciled, so is our loving Father as well. God is truly joyful to have us reconciled with Him, when we are sincere in our desire to turn away from our sins and to embrace fully once again, His love and grace.
Now, let us all reflect, brothers and sisters in Christ, on what our lives have been thus far. Have we allowed our pride and ego, our greed and desires, our attachments to sin and the various wickedness of this world to prevent us and become obstacles for us in our journey to be reconciled with God? Have we allowed ourselves to continue to sin because we are too afraid to admit that we have been wrong and that we have been defiled by the sins we committed? Or have we allowed ourselves to fear God and His anger and retribution just because we failed to recognise His genuine love and desire to forgive us?
Have we allowed the devil to tempt us to continue to sin by indulging in all sorts of things that go against God’s will, because they pander to our desires, our ambitions and wishes? Have we become too attached to the lures of power, worldly glory and fame, of pleasures and satisfactions of our bodies among many other things? Let us really carefully discern on all these as we progress through this blessed penitential season of Lent, so that we truly may follow the example of the prodigal son in returning to the love of his father, that we ourselves may be reconciled with God, our loving and ever merciful Father.
Let us all realise that God despises our sins, not us as the sinners. After all, He created us all in love, for the reason of sharing His love for us, and His love endures so much that He was willing to give us His ultimate gift of love in Christ, His own Beloved Son, to be our Saviour, redeeming us all through the most painful and bitter pain of the Cross, making the ultimate sacrifice of love for our sake. And this is indeed for us to remember, that with every sins we committed, we inflict those blows and injuries on the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all sin no more and strive to be upright in all of our dealings and actions, to be good to our fellow brothers and sisters, that we show love and compassion to those who have wronged us, to forgive them their faults and mistakes just as we also should ask to be forgiven our own mistakes and faults, which we may not even realise that we have committed unto others around us, even to our family members, our friends and our loved ones. And it is important that we are merciful just as God our Father is merciful so that through our own mercy and forgiveness, compassion and love, we too are open to accept God’s offer of compassion, love and mercy.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore strive to be merciful as the Father is merciful, and to love as the Father has loved us. Let us all be sorry for our sins and faults, to seek forgiveness through our genuine desire to repent and turn away from our sins and from all sorts of wickedness in our lives. May the Lord help us and may He give us the courage and strength to walk faithfully in this path that He has led us through, that we may truly find consolation and true happiness in Him, through the forgiveness of our sins and by being reconciled to our loving Father. Amen.