24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C): Gospel – Luke 15:1-32
St. Luke’s Gospel has been called the “Gospel of Mercy,” and today’s parables are especially illustrative of this theme.
As Benedict XVI has commented,
Above all, this Gospel text has the power of speaking to us of God, of enabling us to know His Face and, better still, His Heart. After Jesus has told us of the merciful Father, things are no longer as they were before.
We now know God; He is our Father who out of love created us to be free and endowed us with a conscience, Who suffers when we get lost and rejoices when we return.
Benedict explains that our relationship with God develops over time, much as the child-parent relationship does:
In these stages we can also identify moments along man’s journey in his relationship with God. There can be a phase that resembles childhood: religion prompted by need, by dependence.
As man grows up and becomes emancipated, he wants to liberate himself from this submission and become free and adult, able to organize himself and make his own decisions, even thinking he can do without God. Precisely this stage is delicate and can lead to atheism, yet even this frequently conceals the need to discover God’s true Face.
Fortunately for us, God never fails in His faithfulness, and even if we distance ourselves and get lost, He continues to follow us with His love, forgiving our errors and speaking to our conscience from within in order to call us back to Him…
Only by experiencing forgiveness, by recognizing one is loved with a freely given love – a love greater than our wretchedness but also than our own merit – do we at last enter into a truly filial and free relationship with God.
Let us respond to the Father’s merciful love by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Question for reflection: How have I experienced being lost, and being found by God’s merciful love?