Praised be Jesus and Mary!
(1st Reading: Jos. 5:9-12; 2nd Reading: 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Gospel: Lk. 15:1-3,11-32)
In today’s first reading, the Lord said to Joshua, “…Today I have taken the shame of Egypt away from you.” – Joshua 5:9
The first readings during the past few days, the people have been asking and pleading God to not forget His promises. They were questioning whether God has gone back on His word to take them as chosen people. Prophets have been speaking to them to ask them to change their sinful ways. But they did not.
The first reading last Thursday, March 3, was most striking to me. It was a sad reading. Prophet Jeremiah started like this:
“These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark our for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention;…” Jer.7:23-25
The last few verses were heartbreaking:
“You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.” Jer.7:27-28
But, today, their forty-year journey has come to an end. God was providing them sustenance with manna; but, today, “…the manna stopped falling. And having manna no longer, the Israelites fed from that year onwards on what the land of Canaan yielded.” Jos. 5:12
This is very similar to the story of the prodigal son in today’s Gospel. He was gone. His father even used the words “he was dead”. It was like the long exile for the son, but he came back to his father and asked forgiveness. The parable ended with a festive meal.
In the second reading, St. Paul says, “For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here.” 2 Cor 5:17
When we reconcile with God, when we change our old evil ways, when we turn our backs to our former ways of judging others, this is what St. Paul means when he said “all have died”. We died to sin, and now, anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. This is what God wants. Our reconciliation. And, the good news is that He is ready to forgive us just like how the father welcomed home the prodigal son.
-We receive this goodness of God, His righteousness, even though we are sinners because Jesus carried the weight of our sins. Though He was sinless, He suffered and died for us. Reflect about this.
-Just like how the father did not even question the prodigal son about the days when he was away, God forgets our sinfulness if only we are willing to say sorry and come back to His embrace. When was the last time you received the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
God is waiting for you to come home. He will welcome you with an embrace… with a festive meal!
Kristine G. Veneracion