In today's gospel reading we heard Jesus parables about God's mercy. We heard one of the most well known gospel parables,the Prodigal Son. There are 3 parables that stand out re God BEING mercy. The aforementioned Prodigal Son as well as the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep. We could also call the parable of the prodigal son the story of the LOST son.
A few things stand out to me. God IS Mercy. From the very beginning when man fell God doesn't condemn humanity totally. He offers His mercy,promises a Redeemer. He will send a woman who will crush the head of the serpent. God will put enmity between her and Satan.
I do hear a lot of comments(imagine you do too)from Anti Christians who try to point out from Scripture how mean,evil and unjust God is. First of all they're reading scripture-understanding scripture through an infallible interpreter is another matter. Two, they seem to lack an understanding of the relationship between Creator and Creature.
It's hard to reach these ppl-they have made up their minds to look for any reason they can find to reject God.If God weren't love-if God weren't merciful-He could have destroyed everything and said no more.
I will be honest and admit though if anyone is prodigal and knows how much we need God's mercy;it's me.Sin leads to sin. It's that simple.We have Catholics who have lost a sense of sin.They've let the culture affect them. I lost a sense of sin myself when i left the Church. Once you're steeped in it you don't see it for what it is.Worse, you don't see it for what it does.The argument is that if it doesn't hurt anyone what's the problem? Meanwhile we have a trail of dead bodies AND souls from here to Kingdom come.
I don't want to be the jealous brother in the parable either. He throws it up in his father's face how he slaved for him all his life and now the wandering son is celebrated.He needed to mend his relationship too and the father extends His mercy to that self righteous brother.
One thing about a relationship with the God who IS mercy; if you have a grateful heart you can't go wrong. God wants us to share His joy when a sinner repents. Not throw it up in their face.The father in the story is waiting and looking. God is waiting and looking. You have to believe that God is love. Anything less means that in a finite human mind you cannot believe that God could become man.
You would think it's beneath Him.Of course it is but once you see HUMILITY makes one GREAT and that love is EVERYTHING(as St Augustine said)then it all makes sense. You submit to God IN LOVE because He IS love. These aren't just platitudes for the Christian to toss around. I can't even begin to describe where i was,but i can tell you that after a true,honest and clear confession (thank you Father Z for your encouragement)can tell you where God has brought me. Still on that journey though. It isn't wrapped up yet.
Let's look at some stats about Catholics today. If they're accurate,they're shameful. Yes,we do need the NEW evangelization.It's a shame we don't see what we have(prodigals)until we lose it.
Here are the results from a recent U.S. poll, compliments of Russell Shaw in Catholic World Report:
“Among the 19 percent of Catholics who described themselves as ‘committed’ in their adherence to the faith, 49 percent said it isn’t necessary for a ‘good’ Catholic to go to Mass weekly, 60 percent said good Catholics needn’t follow Church teaching on birth control, 46 percent said the same about the teaching on divorce and remarriage, 31 percent about the teaching on abortion, and 48 percent about marrying in the Church. A surprising 39 percent even said good Catholics needn’t give time or money to help the poor. To repeat: these are Catholics who think they’re committed in their faith.” (Protocols and Theologians by Russell Shaw – Catholic World Report, August 26, 2012)
I cannot believe any Catholic has no idea what the Church teaches re those matters. What do they think Jesus founded the Church for?
Or to put it another way,from CS Lewis