Forgiveness, Restoration, & Proper Order
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The readings for this weekend’s liturgy stress the merciful heart of God and describe, as best we can describe the attributes of God by analogy, the tender heart of God and his desire to forgive, restore and properly order His creation.
In the reading from the Book of Exodus, Moses intercedes with God on behalf of the Israelites and implores His mercy. God hears Moses’ plea and withholds the punishment that the people deserve. Psalm 51 is a great prayer of mercy. Tradition has even dubbed it the “Miserere,” the Latin term for “have mercy.” In the second reading from the Mass, St. Paul speaks of the power of God’s grace and mercy in his own life and how, with God’s help, he went from being the “foremost” of sinners to a pillar of the nascent Church.
In today’s Gospel passage, when Jesus is criticized for rubbing elbows with sinners, He tells parables that reveal the tender heart of God and God’s intense desire to seek out the lost, reconcile sinners and joyfully welcome repentant sinners home. Jesus tell us that there is “rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Sin must be awfully destructive if turning from it evokes such heavenly celebration.
So, what is the message for us? First off, God wants us to turn from sin and seek His mercy. There is no sin we can commit that is beyond the reach of God’s merciful love, as long as we repent. Secondly, he provides sacramental opportunities for us to be freed from the clutches of sin and guilt. In the Sacrament of Confession, we encounter the saving and healing power of the cross. Take frequent advantage of this great spiritual gift.
Finally, Jesus reveals the tender heart of God and the Lord’s Cross is the evidence of how far God is willing to go to save us from sin. We must seek God’s help through the sacraments and in fervent prayer so that we can imitate the mercy of God in our own lives. We should try, as best we can, to imitate the love and mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,