The Lord is Merciful and Compassionate
Readings: 1st: Ex 32:7-11.13-14; Ps: 50:3-4. 13.17; 2nd: I Tim 1:12-17; Gos: Lk 15:1-32
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
On this twenty-fourth Sunday of ordinary time, united by our faith in Christ, we have gathered in the presence of our Lord, who is merciful and compassionate. The second preface of the weekday Mass says, “Almighty and Eternal God, in goodness You created man, and when he was justly condemned, in mercy and love You redeemed him through Christ our Lord…” This is the summary of this Sunday’s message.
Today, the church offers us another golden opportunity to reflect on God’s mercy and compassion. The coming of Christ is the manifestation of God’s mercy on us. One crucial fact common to the readings of this Sunday is the readiness of God to welcome and receive us irrespective of how much we have fallen and gone away from him.
In the first reading of today, we discover a God who is faithful to his vows. He also demonstrated that his love and mercy surpass his anger and judgment. As a merciful and compassionate father, God heard the prayers of Moses on behalf of his people. Hence, He fulfilled his promise that “If my people, called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin.” (2 Chr 7:14).
A vital lesson we must learn from this reading is the power of intercession for both ourselves and others. Like Moses, the Christ we celebrate today relentlessly continues to intercede for us every day. This is especially at the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. So, we must not be tired of interceding for one another and our world before our merciful and compassionate Lord. So, we must approach Him in prayers always, reminding him of his promises as Moses did.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that, like himself, we are all products of God’s mercy. In this reading, Paul recounted how his salvation was made possible through the intercession and mercy of Christ. Hence, like Paul, let us take advantage of this same saving mercy of God for our eternal salvation. Let us also be grateful to Him, who shows us mercy through Christ.
In today’s gospel, the Pharisees accused Christ of welcoming sinners. Through his action and parables, He demonstrated how merciful and compassionate he is towards us. Despite our sins and stubbornness, Christ is willing to welcome us back to himself. Each day, He beckons us: “Come let us settle the matter, even though your sins are as red as crimson, you shall be as white as snow” (Is 1:18-19). Through his merciful and compassionate heart, He is ready to make all things new for us again. It does not matter what it will cost Him.
So, like the prodigal son, it is time to accept this invitation. It is time to return to the merciful and compassionate Lord whose mercy surpasses his judgment and wrath. God has made our return very easy through Jesus Christ. So, all we need is to realize ourselves.
Sincerely, and humbly we must make an important decision as the prodigal son did by saying, “I will leave this place and go back to my father.” We must not be ashamed to return to God our father because “His steadfast love never ceases, and His mercy never comes to an end. They are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).
Peace be with you all!