But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found. – Luke 15: 32
These are the famous words from the father in the parable of the ‘prodigal son’ – the call to ‘celebrate and rejoice’ because his son has come back home.
Today’s readings from Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, call us to celebrate and rejoice in many ways.
In the first reading from Micah 7: 18 – 20, we are told that God removes the guilt of his people, pardons our sins, and throws them into the bottom of the sea.
This was a mighty revelation to me when I was turning again to the Lord, that God ‘throws our sins into the bottom of the sea’ and does not remember them again.
In the past, I struggled with the guilt of shame for past sins. But during that time of struggle, I read this scripture and suddenly, all my guilt and shame were swept away, thrown by the hand of God into the depth of the sea.
The psalm today also reminds us that the Lord is kind and merciful, and for this reason, we are called to praise the Lord.
As the psalmist says, “bless the Lord o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name… He pardons all your iniquities… He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever… So surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him… So far has he put our transgressions from us.”
Among all these wonderful promises from the psalm which fills my heart with joy, the promise that God “will not always chide” is particularly dear to me.
It assures my heart that even though I’ve done wrong, God is not interested in giving me a stern warning of correction, but just loves me as I am and wants me to turn towards good, for my good.
It really shows the heart of the Father towards us His children.
That He is most tender, most loving, most faithful!
Indeed this is what Jesus reveals to us today in the Gospel and story of the prodigal son, which is reflection of the Heavenly Father’s actions towards us.
Imagine the father in the story, laying sight of his son whilst he was still a long way away and running to meet him.
The father ignores his son’s request to become one of his servants, and exalts him with even higher esteem. He puts a robe on him – a sign of honour, a ring on his finger – a sign of authority, sandals on his feet – a sign of dignity (to show that he is not a slave).
What lavish love the Father has for us.
This is indeed great reason to celebrate and rejoice.
All we need to do is return again to the Lord.
If hounded with lies from the evil one, simply turn to the Lord.
And if you find it hard to turn to Him, then cry out with a loud voice to Him. For the Lord sees, He hears and He will surely answer you.
As today’s readings encourage us all, He is waiting already at the doors of our hearts and just watching for us to open up and let Him in.
Heavenly Father, today we rejoice in Your abundant, unfathomable love for us.
You Who are Omnipotent, and in need of nothing from us, yet look upon us with great compassion.
You have created us in Your own image and likeness and adopted us as Your children.
And so Heavenly Father today, we return to You with hearts full of gratitude, thanks and praise.
We love You Eternal Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth.
We bless You for the gift of Your Son Jesus to us and for the Holy Spirit.
May we serve You all our days as Your faithful children…
So that when You call us to the eternal life, we will continue our rejoicing forever, with Your angels and saints. Amen.
Blessed are You Most Holy God, forever and ever.