This week the readings come from Exodus 32:7-11,13-14; Psalm 51; Paul’s first letter to Timothy 1:12-17; and Luke’s Gospel 15:1-32. These reading deal with the mercy and forgiveness.
We begin with Moses going back down from the mountain top and seeing the people who have just come from Egypt worshiping a golden calf since that’s all they known. Moses intercedes for the Israelites and the Lord relents. Paul introduces himself in the letter as a sinner and tells Timothy that Jesus came to save all sinners. In the gospel we get a bunch of parables (lost sheep, lost coin, lost son) each tell the same story something gets lost and when it is found there is much rejoicing. The Shepherd has 100 sheep and loses one, then leaves the other 99 to go look for the lost one. The woman has 10 coins and loses one who wouldn’t go into search mode to find it turning her house upside down to find it. This is told again with the father and his two sons. The younger son wants his inheritance now so his father gives it to him and the son leaves. He loses all his money and resorts to working as a hired hand for some guy but the son isn’t happy. He comes to the realization that his Father’s hired hand were well fed and treated well. So the son leaves to return home and when he is a ways off the father spies him. His father comes running toward the Son and calls they have a celebration. The older son is not a fan of this as the younger son has wasted all his money and hasn’t done a thing, but the father say they are celebrating because his son that was dead is now alive again. This is how it is with the other parables as well after the thing is found (sheep, coin) there is much rejoicing an celebration.
It seems all to often in the world today we are the thing that is lost, with all the violence and hate in the world today we can forget that it is our mission to bring love and mercy to the world. This can be difficult for us all as we remember that 15 years ago a horrible act took place in the United States with crashes in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville. This is compounded by the culture of hate that pervades the world today. Let us ask to be made into instruments of peace just like in the Prayer of St. Francis.