A Reckless Love – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily September 15, 2019

“You know in today’s world, we often find justice as something that is very important, but I’d like to say that there’s a difference between justice and mercy.  You see, justice is giving someone what they deserve, but what is mercy? Mercy is giving someone more than what they deserve and that’s what I’d like to point out today that God has mercy on all of us.  He’s willing to give more that what we deserve. You know, in today’s Gospel Jesus gives these three parables and it’s funny that he always says before them, he’s really questioning everyone. He’s saying, ‘Who with a hundred sheep when one goes lost wouldn’t go after that one and leave the 99 behind?’  And the obvious answer is that no one would. That would be foolish, wouldn’t it? The second parable again he says, ‘What woman who has ten coins and loses one would not light the lamp and sweep the whole house and finding one. Again, the answer is simple, no one would. Would you? Would you leave 99 behind if one was lost?  Who says that after going after that one you wouldn’t lose 45 on the way back. It just doesn’t make any sense, does it? It’s not rational. Or who would lost that one coin, say it was a penny or a nickel, would search your whole house just to find it. Not only that, after you would find it, you would tell all of your friends to come over and you would throw a party, something that would probably be worth more than that penny itself.  You see, the Gospel today is showing what a reckless love God has for each one of us. We might look at all these parables with a sense of justice, what’s deserved. One lamb is not deserving of maybe losing 99 or maybe going after one coin is not worth it, so just leave it be, but God, God looks at it with complete mercy. He looks at each one of us with that same mercy, so it’s a reckless love that God has. You know, often times I’ve talked with teenagers or college students and I say to them, ‘You know that God loves you , right?’  And you know what they will say? They will say, ‘Yeah God loves everyone.’ ‘But no, God love you.’ And they say, ‘No, well God loves everyone.’ As if because God loves everyone it doesn’t mean he loves you, but that’s what the Gospel is really saying today that yes, he loves everyone, but he loves YOU with a completely reckless love. These three parables who of God’s infinitely love and mercy, but I’d like to show you that they can each of these parables can kind of show someone in the spiritual journey.

You know the second story talks about the lost coin.  Now what is a coin? A coin is just an object. It doesn’t have consciousness.  It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t even know it’s lost! It might not be worth a thing, but some people in their spiritual journey are like that.  They don’t even know they’re lost, but our God will have a reckless love to go after that one person who doesn’t even know they’re lost who doesn’t even know where to go.  Now the first parable, a lost sheep, an animal, one that knows feelings and hunger and knows when it’s lost, an animal when it’s lost will cry out for help, but it doesn’t know where to go.  It can’t help itself and so too, there are people too who know they are lost, but don’t know where to go. They can only scream for help. Maybe that’s you and finally the last one, the prodigal son, he rejects the father, he rejects God and you know, to make the point even more strong when he says, ‘Give me my inheritance’ in that day and time what it means is, ‘I wish you were dead so that I would have my money now.  So he really wished death upon his father so that he could just have his inheritance and then he runs away and squanders it on loose living, but there are some of us in our spiritual journey who have done the same who has consciously rejected God, but at the same time realize where to go. We come back to the Lord and what does he do? Not only does he see him, but he runs after him. Again, all these three things if we look at with justice, it’s foolish.  It’s reckless, but let us look at it with mercy what God calls all of us to look at our life each one of our relationships, to love one another as he has loved us.

So as you come to receive the Eucharist today where Christ is truly present before you, let us continue to ask the Lord for the strength and the courage, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey, the coin, the sheep, the prodigal son, will we be able to receive God’s love and mercy or will we reject it?  That is the question. Amen.