Word for Word 9/18/19

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg
Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg

For your meditation: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32

The theme of these readings from the word of God is forgiveness. Forgiveness from God to us. Forgiveness we extend to each other.

The Lord forgives the Israelites their terrible idolatry; and Jesus tells us that there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than there is over 99 righteous people who have no need to repent.

Being in sin, being in need of forgiveness is compared to being lost. Think of the fear and tension that a man or woman experiences when they are lost in some large city, when they don’t speak the language of that country or in a wilderness where all you see are trees. That person is desperate to be found.

When we have sinned, when we have stayed away from God and get ourselves lost, we should likewise be desperate to be found. We should turn to God and acknowledge our sins and our need for forgiveness. It’ll give God and all the angels a chance to celebrate.

God is the “hound of heaven.” Is there a place anywhere that God hasn’t created? Is there a nook or cranny anywhere in this universe that God is not aware of? Absolutely not.

To be lost from God’s sight is a contradiction in terms. It’s impossible to be lost to God.

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, what we really have is an example of God’s forgiveness, not an emphasis on the son’s prodigality.

Look, for instance, at the action of the father in the story, and he, of course, represents God the Father.

While the son is still a long way off on his return, the father “caught sight of him and was deeply moved.” How about that? It’s not the son who is “deeply moved”, it the father. The story goes on to say that the father ran to meet him, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

And then the father bypasses the kid’s “act of contrition” and orders the servants to bring out a robe for him and shoes too. And then, oh this is almost too much, the father orders the servants to “put a ring on his finger.” Then he really blows your mind - he throws a big banquet.

What’s this saying? It’s saying that God is easier to forgive. There is nothing he enjoys doing more than forgiving someone.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we followed not only the teachings of God through Jesus Christ but followed his example - he layed down his life to forgive the sins of the world.

The teacher wrote on the blackboard (I’m dating myself). “I ain’t had no fun in months,” she stated and then asked the class, “How should I correct this sentence?” Little Johnny raised his hand and replied, “Get yourself a new boyfriend.”

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg

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