…his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved.
He ran out to meet him,
threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.
I realize that there is only one “M” in the alphabet and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity yesterday to celebrate Memorial Day with that M. Still, since God’s merciful love is the source of all of our hope, it merits recognition as well…
M is for Mercy. Of all of the characteristics Jesus exhibited, I find mercy to be the most powerful. Jesus taught mercy masterfully in his interactions with others. Then, he underscored these lessons with the mercy he extended to all, especially the isolated souls disdained by everyone else. To insure that we appreciated his every word and deed in this regard, Jesus offered the unforgettable Parable of the Prodigal Son. If any of us question our ability to be lovingly and mercifully forgiven, this story dispels all doubt.
In Jesus’ community, a request for an early inheritance insulted a parent gravely. The offending child essentially demanded, “Behave as though you are dead so I can have my money.” According to the parable, in spite of his son’s selfishness and disregard for his feelings, that father gave his son what he asked. The son responded by leaving town and squandering every cent. The young man had reached rock bottom when he eventually found work tending swine. In the end, he realized his wrong-doing and returned home to beg his father to allow him to work as a servant. As Luke’s passage above tells us, this father would have none of it. At the sight of his son, mercy and love filled up the man who embraced his wayward child to welcome him home.
God promises the same reception to you and to me.
Merciful God, thank you!
©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved