Merciful God

4th Sunday Lent 
Joshua 5,9.10-12
2 Corinthians 5,17-21
Luke 15,1-3.11-32

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Vicente Uy (Philippines)

How would you answer someone who accuses you of going out with people of ill repute, such as gamblers, drug addicts, and corrupt officials? I was accused   of something similar once. Some complained that I was going out with people of  questionable character. 

They were afraid that I might be corrupted. But I reminded   them that Jesus also went out with publicans and sinners, even sharing a meal with  them (cf. Mark 2, 15; Luke 5, 39). Why did he do it? By doing so, he was risking his reputation. 

Let‘s go back in time and listen to Jesus himself.   Some 2000 years ago, when the Pharisees and scribes also complained that Jesus  “welcomes sinners and eats with them,” He answered by telling them the Parable of   the Prodigal Son.  As the title of the parable suggests, the focus of the story is on the prodigal son. However, the story also brings to light the other two characters in it as well, namely, the father and the elder brother. 

Actually the three characters complete the  story. Without the father or the elder brother, the story would not make any sense. Just  try to picture the prodigal son without the father who is portrayed as loving, forgiving  and compassionate. That would have left the prodigal son condemned to what he had   turned out to be, a bum, because of a wrong decision he made in life. And without the   elder brother, the other half of us, namely, the self-righteous and the holier-than-thou “me” would not be spotlighted. 

So wherever we might find ourselves in, whether as the prodigal son or the self-righteous brother, let us never forget that we have a Father in heaven who loves us  despite our faults and weaknesses. For those who find themselves like the prodigal son  who is lost to sin, know that we have a God who is awaiting our return day in and day out. Or if, in any way, you have been judgmental or self—righteous, just like the elder brother, know that God loves you just the same and understands how you feel.   God wants us to be brothers and sisters to one another. We are a FAMILY, the happy Family of God!   

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