September 15, 2019
Dear Visitors and Parishioners,
Mercy is an essential virtue of the Christian life. It is also an attribute of God. Some have said that just as God is love, so God is also mercy because mercy is also the revelation of God's love for us in the coming of the Son in the flesh to redeem the world. The word originates from the Latin, misericordia, which literally translates to the pity of the heart Athanasius writes in his treatise, On the Incarnation, that God did not want to see those whom he created in his own image destroyed in the corruption of sin, so the Father sent the Son to re-create the image in us which from the beginning was destined for immortality. God desired or pitied his creation from the heart to the point of sending his Son, so that we might not see destruction.
We see the unfathomable mercy of God in today's readings from scripture. God relents of punishing his people, Israel. St. Paul recognizes that he has received such a great mercy from the Lord, so that God's mercy and patience might be revealed to the world. Most importantly God's mercy is revealed in Scripture. We are given three great parables. The two which probably most notably we remember is the story of "The Lost Sheep" and the story of "The Prodigal Son."
The story of "The Lost Sheep" reveals much about God's mercy because it reveals exactly the kind of desire that Athanasius points out. God never tires in seeking out the lost sheep. Even though we might hide, the shepherd is still searching. Sin hides us from God because we don't want to be found we'd rather be on our own, but God's love revealed in his mercy never tires of seeking us out. When our hearts tum to God with trust, we allow ourselves to be found. When the shepherd does find the lost sheep he rejoices, picks it up, and places it on his shoulders, so it can't escape. God wants each of us so close that he will place us with him so we can't stray. This is an unimaginable degree of compassion, love, and most importantly mercy. If you or I were the only one's living on this planet, God would scour every inch and remove every obstacle in his path just to possess you. That is the level to which God desires us.
The story of "The Prodigal Son" speaks of how our Eternal Father is always waiting for us to return. The important thing to notice is that before the son has the opportunity to even confess his sin, the fact that his heart had turned back to the Lord. He was embraced by the father. The father had already forgiven him before a word was formed on his lips, his sorrow and desire to return to the father. The younger son was renewed in life . The older brother, on the other hand, did not enter into the house. Though he was righteous, he lacked charity and mercy toward his brother. He excluded himself from the great feast.
If we only turn our hearts in sorrow, God forgives and embraces us before we can explain ourselves. He wants to carry us on his shoulders into life . Never fear God. If we seek him with an honest heart with mercy in our souls and sorrow in our hearts, he will be merciful. Our Father is waiting to waiting to meet you in an embrace, to renew you in life, to have your heart beat in sync with his own heart.
-Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, O.P.