Liturgical Colour : Green
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we truly know of the greatness of the divine love and mercy of our Lord. He is truly our Father and God, because He truly loves us all unconditionally, like that of a father to a son. The parable of the prodigal son, the well-known story of the wayward son and the forgiving, loving father illustrates this nature of our God’s love for us very vividly.
Yes, the Lord our God is a loving God, whose heart is full of tenderness of love and compassion, especially for all of us, the most beloved of all His creations. He is merciful and readily forgives His children, that is all of us, if we come to Him with contrite and sorry heart, seeking for His forgiveness and love. That love and mercy He had given freely to all of us without exception.
He cares for us the way the father of the two sons cared for them. He showered them with abundance and love, and they lacked nothing. Similarly, we have been provided by the Lord with many things, some of us less, some of us more, that shows the depth of His love and care for us. When we go astray, in the same way as the wayward younger son, He seeks for us with love and commitment.
Yet, brethren, we cannot constantly live with sin, be tempted by sin, and showing sin and wickedness, as the Lord God, as loving and merciful He is, He is also a jealous and avenging God. He would not have sin tolerated in His presence. The temptation of doing these things abhorring to God, and Satan always ramp-up their success in corrupting the hearts of men, that we fall and fail, just like the second son of the father, whom left his father to wander to a foreign nation.
God wants us to be His, and that we will return to His embrace, and He longs for that day when we all can be reunited in perfection with Him, and no longer be separated from Him by sin and our stubbornness. In the same way as the father awaited for the return of the prodigal son from his sojourn in the foreign country, day after day, month after month, until the prodigal son returned to his presence, and he rejoiced because of that.
Yet, we are reluctant to return to our loving God, because of various reasons that become serious obstacles in our path towards God, towards returning to His loving embrace. We can easily observe this in the story of the prodigal son, where the younger son feared going home to his father, although if he returned, he would have lived once again in plenty.
One such obstacle is the pull and temptation of worldly pleasures, which prevents us from going back to the Lord, and instead we immerse ourselves in such pleasures excessively, shutting the Lord out of our hearts and our minds. The other obstacle is fear, that is the fear of the wrath of God, the fear of His anger and retribution for our mistakes and our betrayal.
Such fear prevents us from drawing near to the throne of mercy, and also opening our hearts to the love of God. Yes, the Lord who hates sin and evil will certainly be angry on the sins we have committed, but He is not someone who will get angry without any good reason. The anger of the Lord does not always mean a bad thing to us, as He is indeed like a father to us, a loving Father who cares for His children.
And therefore, just like a father, He chastises us whenever we do something wrong, that we will not repeat doing that again in the future. He is angry with us and punishes us as the way that He showed His care, that we will not fall again as our ancestors had fallen into damnation. He punished us not because He wanted us to suffer, but indeed to avoid eternal suffering that awaits us if He did not ‘discipline’ us.
Hence, brethren, let us look into ourselves and reflect on the things that we had done, which had not been what the Lord taught us to do, that brought us into sin, following the example of the prodigal son, who realised the mistakes he had committed, and to the point of being embarrassed of having to go back to his father when he had no other option.
But it is important to note and follow his examples, that despite his initial fear and hesitation, he gathered his courage and returned to his father, who welcomed him and embraced him with love and joy. Then, brethren, we too should follow his example, to be meek and humble before the Lord who is merciful and loving.
Then, finally, let us reflect on the behaviour of the elder son, who became angry at his father for what he perceived to be unequal and unfair treatment by his father. This is a common behaviour in mankind, which I am sure that we had witnessed quite often in our lives, how people feel that they deserve something more than what they had received and become jealous when they perceive tht others had been treated better when to them, these people deserved it less than them.
The elder son represents those people whom the Lord had chosen and saved since early on in their lives, and therefore remain in God’s love always, unlike the younger son who went astray along the way, and then returns to the fold. It is natural for us humans, relying on our emotions and instinct to resent those whom we deemed to have been treated better than they should have been.
We ought not to be judgmental on others, and indeed, with God, we should rejoice whenever one of the lost ones returned to the Lord and to us. Remember, that even great saints were once great sinners too. In fact, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen had said, the greater the sins one had committed, the closer one should have been towards realising the depth of their faults and iniquities, and thus, be more ready to embrace the mercy and love offered by God.
Therefore, we should help one another, assisting and supporting one another in our lives, that we will ensure that all of us will be saved and freed from sin. Give help and our love to those who are trapped in the seduction of in and the devil, praying to the Lord to open their hearts to His love. We too, brethren, though we have been saved, must be ever vigilant, that we too do not falter and fall to the traps of Satan that he had cleverly and carefully laid down for us.
May the Lord who has shown His love and mercy for us, continue to shower us with His blessings and graces, and continue to care for us like a father loves his children. May we too realise the depth of our sins, and the depth of His tenderness and love, that we will not be hesitant or fearful to approach Him, full of remorse and sorrow, that the Lord who loves us will embrace us, forgive us, and give us a place beside Him in eternal glory. Love one another and love the Lord God our Father. Amen.