Merciful Father

Whenever I reflect on God’s Mercy, I cannot help but be amazed of the love that He has for His disobedient and stubborn people.  I see how unworthy I am of such love and how faithful He is for keeping His covenant in spite of all that the other party, we, does.  Seeing this love always drives me to tears and gratitude and makes me see that all other things matter less in this world.

One parable commonly told is that of the prodigal son, in other texts it is entitled the parable of the Merciful Father and rightly so.  Often the focus is on the son who squandered everything and we all see ourselves in that son.  I hope we all do because that is our reality.  It is such a beauty to see the prodigal son realising his mistake and with humility returning home to ask his father for forgiveness.  What a wonderful turn of events – to see one’s sins and with all humility turn back and to ask for forgiveness!  Yet this beautiful journey of the son towards conversion is received more amazingly by the father’s mercy.  The father’s joy in seeing his son returning to him and the forgiveness readily given and more – they celebrated with the fattened calf!  Did the prodigal son deserve such warm welcome and treatment?  We don’t think so.  Do we deserve such love and forgiveness?  Yet our Father is always ready, with arms wide open, waiting for His repentant sons and daughters to return to Him with humility, always ready to replace our tears with His joy which is our strength.  This parable is a reminder not only of our disobedience and unworthiness but most importantly of the mercy that awaits every repentant sinner – warmly, joyfully awaiting us.  What are we waiting for?  Shouldn’t we get a hold of ourselves, realize our own sinfulness and humbly turn back and ask our Father for forgiveness?  Let us ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our sins and help us turn back, because all the riches in this world we can easily squander off, no matter how much they are, but the richness of God’s mercy and the joy it brings is infinite and overflowing.

He also said, ‘A man had two sons.  The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.”  So the father divided the property between them.  A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.  And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything.  Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here I am dying of hunger!  I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.”  So he left the place and went back to his father.

‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity.  He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.  Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son.”  But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.

Luke 15:11-24

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