Nothing Is Greater Than
His Mercy -Homily September 15, 2013
briefly make a few remarks about the Gospel of today.
“So he (the
prodigal son) set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms
around him and kissed him”. Jesus is telling us through this parable how
immediate the forgiveness of God is. “As soon as I hear you I will forgive
you”, the prophet says (Cf. Isaiah
30:18ss). The son was already coming back, but was still far off: it is an
indication that as soon as the decision of asking forgiveness and changing life
has been taken, God comes to embrace us with his mercy.
“So he set
off and went to his father”. It would not have been enough to say: “Well, my
father always forgives. I am sure he forgives me for what I am doing”. He actually
set off. He left behind the wrong he was doing. We are not forgiven just
because we think that God is good. God is good, but if I want to continue in my
sins, if I love sin, God does not overpower my freedom. God cannot forgive the
one who does not want him to enter his heart. But if you let him in, if you
want to change, but you cannot do it alone, God will help you.
“So he set
off and went to his father”. The son needed to say to his father face to face
that he had sinned. He wanted to express externally what was internally a
burden for him. He needed to know if his father would forgive him. He was ready
for a penance. He wanted to hear from his father: “That’s ok, I forgive you, go
to work”. He probably needed an embrace and a kiss, although he didn’t expect
it. The only way for the son to know that he was restored in the grace of his
father was this: to hear from his father the words of forgiveness.
This is one
of the reasons for which Jesus said to the apostles: “If you forgive the sins
of anyone, they are forgiven.” (John
20:23) Because he wanted us to be sure that we are forgiven. He wanted us to
feel his embrace and to hear his voice. Some people say: “I feel that God
forgives me, I don’t need the priest”. Feelings are not always to be trusted. Feelings
sometimes lead us to sin. Feelings come and go, they cannot be the basis of any
true statement. But the word of God is always the same, “the word of the Lord
endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25) And
Jesus said: “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven.” (John 20:23)
May the Lord
grant us great confidence in his mercy. There is no sin that God cannot
forgive, there is no sinner excluded from his embrace. –Fr.