This son of yours – Saturday, the second week in Lent – Micah 7:14-15,18-20/Luke 15:1-3,11-13

The first reading taken from this 7th-century BC prophet reveals the heart of a man who pleads on behalf of his people. It is not that the people of Jerusalem had not heard the warnings of God; they simply did not heed them.

Micah is laying the praise thick; he is pleading with God who has been offended and rejected by a people He has loved and cherished. They have blatantly and repeatedly rejected his love. This is not a God who had been stingy in his loving. He had led his flock out of bondage into the rich and fertile pastures of Bashan and Gilead. Yahweh’s mercy and love were incomparable to the other gods; they were but a pale shadow of his mercy. Revealed in today’s text is the core of God; He is a God who DELIGHTS in his mercy.

That is something to sit back and think about. What do we delight in? To delight in something means that we are tremendously happy or exhilarated in or with something or somebody. Perhaps it is our home, our family, our job, a vacation or an ability. Micah tells us that God, delights in his people, in you and me; and in his mercy for us.

Micah whose very name means, “who is like our God” reminds us this Lenten season that we have a God who delights in us, delights in giving us, and delights in forgiving us. We are the only object of his affection. He loves no other. This is the kind of love that you and I seek from others in this world. We are reluctant to acknowledge that if we only accept God’s love, we will be truly happy. If only with St Augustine we confessed, “Our hearts were made for you Lord, they will never find rest until they rest in you.”

Yet you may ask, “Why then did God deliver his people, whom he delighted in, into the hands of the Babylonians? One should never forget the number of prophets who pleaded of Jerusalem to harken to his voice, one should never forget the number of sermons that we have heard, one should never forget the number of Lenten reflections that have been churned out, yet we harken not his voice. Mercy is not devoid of justice! I can’t get away with murder it needs a just punishment. This does not mean God rejects the man who committed murder. If that was his criteria then Jesus would be sitting in the Sanhedrin and not in the house of Matthew.

God’s wonderful mercy is reflected in the parable of what has commonly been called the ‘prodigal son.’ The mercy of God is seen in the Father who is waiting for his son and then runs to embrace this wayward child. Sadly, the mercy of the elder son is not only lacking it seems non-existent. In his anger, he refuses to come into the house where his wayward brother’s return is being celebrated. In his anger, he refers to his brother as “this son of yours” and not my brother. We desire God’s mercy but don’t want to pass the same on to those who have merely scratched our ego.

Let us learn to understand the words we profess, “forgive our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

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