The first reading and the Gospel help to understand who is God and who we are.
In the book of Exodus, through the narrative of a particular situation of the Exodus' people, the sacred author describes for us the kindness, patience and tender love of God.
In chapter 15 of his Gospel the evangelist Luke narrates three stories or parables, which have traditionally been called the parables of mercy. In them we discover also another aspect of our Father God, the joy in finding what has been lost, and in the son who comes back home.
FIRST READING Ex 32:7-11; 13-14
ü In this beautiful page of the book of Exodus we find a very interesting portrait of God, and also of Moses.
ü God is presented as being very angry with his people, so angry that he plans to eliminate it and, form another people from the descendants of Moses.
ü On the other hand Moses is portrait as having a very familiar relationship with God, so much that he makes God change his decision. At the same time we realize the great love that this man Moses had for his people which was so many times a burden for him
ü Let us reflect on the description of God being angry:
· We, human beings, describe very often God as being angry, specially every time we commit a sin.
· A very normal reaction when we have sinned is to be afraid of God, seeing God as an oppressive force that overpowers us, and from whom we prefer to be far.
· I have always thought that the best work that the spirit of evil has done among us is to make us believe that God wants us and helps us because he has a selfish personal interest in it. Nothing farther from the truth.
ü Moses deals with God, dialogues, this narrative reminds us a little bit the conversation of Abraham with God in regards to the cities of the valley: Sodoma and Gomorra.
· Moses tells God that his decision to eliminate his people is going to be against him
· And he asks God to remember his servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to whom he made a promise.
· According to the sacred author God changes his mind and does not eliminate his people.
· This is a very interesting situation which we encounter in other places of the Scripture, God allows the human beings "to convince" him and he "changes." I think that this is because God respects the freedom he has given to us. He takes us seriously.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 51:3-4. 12-13. 17. 19
I WILL RISE AND GO TO MY FATHER
Have mercy on my O God, in your goodness
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
A clean heart create for me, O God
and a steadfast spirit renew within me
Cast me not out from your presence
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit,
a heart contrite and humbled, O God
you will not spurn.
v If we read verses 1 and 2 we will learn that this psalm was written by David, when the prophet Nathan denounced his sin of adultery taking Uriah's wife as his own wife, and killing Uriah.
v We sense a great humility and suffering facing the enormity of his sin, and above all to have been so ungrateful to God who had given him all he had.
v The Church weekly prays this psalm at Friday's Lauds. As a church, as the people of the new covenant, as the redeemed people, we also need to ask forgiveness of our sins, because we have also been ungrateful for the gift of redemption, and the gift of freedom he has given back to us after we have lost it sinning.
GOSPEL Lk 15:1-32
Ø Luke is considered an artist for many reasons:
§ He has left for us the best picture of Mary painted not with brushes, but with words which make her so real as if we were seeing her.
§ He writes in a perfect and beautiful Greek language, the best of the New Testament.
§ From the many parables that were circulating among the firsts communities, he has chosen and left for us in his Gospel three which are considered a work of art, called the parables of mercy, or of the merciful love of our Father: the lost and found sheep, the lost and found coin, and the son who was "dead" and has come back to "life."
§ In all these three parables we perceive the presence of joy, joy of evil changed into goodness by the work of the unconditional love of the Father, and the conversion or return of the son, or the finding of what had been lost.
§ I believe that all of us have experienced the joy of finding some valuable thing that we had lost.
§ We are going to concentrate our meditation on the prodigal son, or better say the prodigal father. The son is prodigal in sin and selfishness, while the Father is prodigal in love.
Ø We all know the story which has some points of special interest for our life
The younger son, in Scripture this expression "younger" is many times the synonym of immature, without experience.
A "distant land" means that he goes far from his father, he does not want to be under his care, he wants to be independent.
The father goes every day to the road to see if the son comes back, the parable says that when he sees him from afar he runs to meet him. He could not have seen him if he had not gone every day to see if the son was returning.
His fatherly heart recognizes him, even if he is so much changed by the sufferings of life, he comes back with torn clothing, dirty, tired, aged...
This father is the pale image of Jesus' Father, our Father whose love leaves us in awe, surprised to the point of doubting of it.
His love is wonderful, surprising, always present in our lives. The Scripture itself tells us that "he knows us, loves us even before we had been conceived in our mother's womb. In the womb he was knitting us with tender love making of us a work of art.
If Jesus had not said that to us, we would think that it was the sacred author's imagination but not real.
Another point of interest is the elder brother, whom the envy prevented him to enjoy the celebration, to enjoy the return of his younger brother.
Although most of us believe that we are like the younger brother, I think that for us people who are already in a community of faith, the danger is to be like the older brother: full of envy "you have never given to me... to celebrate with my friends" " for this son of yours you prepare a celebration..." the gospel ends this narration saying that he did not want to enter into the feast and that the father begged him to...."
We hear through this story the most attractive truth about God, he loves us all and forgives us all, and he forgets our sins once we acknowledge and confess them.
SEDOND READING 1 Tm 1:12-17
ü Probably this letter had not been written by Paul, but by one of his disciples of the next generation.
ü Let us see the message that this letter has for us today:
v Paul is grateful to Christ, our Lord, for having considered him worthy of the ministry, since he had been a persecutor of the Church.
v Paul feels very heavily in his heart the times he was persecuting the followers of the way, of Jesus.
v But he also acknowledges that he had acted out of ignorance, for this reason he was treated with mercy. So many make us suffer, and also many of them act out of ignorance, without realizing the hurt they inflict.
v He says also that Christ has come for the sake of sinners, and Paul considers himself the greatest sinner.
v The reading ends with a thanksgiving and praise to God.
While my confessor was still doubtful in making the decision because of the importance of the matter, he decided to go have his exercises with his Excellency, Mgr. Claret (who was going to start his last exercises and bid farewell to his dear brothers), and to consult the matter, while in my convent everything was being prepared for the profession. At last, my confessor came back from the interview, more or less in the same way as he went there, without any decision from Bishop Claret. Because he could not get anything from him except that the fruit was already ripe but not yet in season, and that in the mean while he would see how was that new world and if there was good disposition there. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 96.
Hungering and thirsting after this love. Just as a man who is physically hungry and thirsty is always thinking of ways to satisfy his craving and asks for food and drink wherever he thinks he can get them, I am resolved to do so by my sighs and burning desires. I turn to the Lord and ask Him with all my heart, "O my Lord, you are my love, my honor, my hope, and my refuge! You are my life, my glory, my goal! O my love, my happiness, my sustainer! O my delight, my reformer, my master, my Father! O my love!" Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 446.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentario a La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.