Saturday of the Second Week of Lent
Reading 1 Mi 7:14-15, 18-20
Gospel Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
"Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.Then the celebration began."
Where did the image of the 'Angry God' come from? By this I mean the perpetually scowling, always-looking-to-damn-you God, whom the Pharisees and scribes would never and could never see dining with tax collectors and sinners as in today's Gospel.
Perhaps it comes from a faulty theology that places rules above love or a patriarchal world view with an insistence on domination or whatever reasons beyond my mortal understanding.
Nevertheless in response to Pharisees and scribes Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son which I'm sure we know very well. But let us shift focus from the son or rather, sons and look at the father.
Jesus says: "He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him." Does that sound angry to you? Maybe you, like the second son, are angry but the father certainly isn't. All he cares about was that his 'lost' son has been found, his 'dead' son is now alive!
The father Jesus reveals is one whose eyes are always searching the horizons in hope of seeing us returning, whose feet are always shod, ready to run to meet us less we turn away again, whose arms are always ready to embrace, to hug, to hold us close to himself, whose mouth is prepared not to utter condemnation but to seal his mercy with a kiss.
Even the Old Testament reading from the prophet Micah does not support the image of the 'angry God' who only desires our condemnation.
"Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins"
God is just and we will get what we deserve, but God is merciful and we will get what we don't deserve if we repent.
This Lent is a good opportunity to reflect on our image of God and reconcile to the image revealed by his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This Lent is an opportunity to return to him: repent and find life.
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.