Bother Those of Strict Observance

by | Sep 6, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus shows us God who is rich in mercy.  He welcomes sinners and eats with them.  This does bother not a few folks.

Maybe the Pharisees and the scribes think Jesus likes to bother them since they are the guardians of the law.  For he stands up to them when they tell him he breaks the law.  Besides, he criticizes them in the open.

And, of course, he does bother them as he shows that he is close to sinners.  They already brought this up before, and he told them that he had come to call sinners.  But those who do not sit with liars nor eat with the wicked do not just give up.  And the Teacher tells them at this time, by way of three parables, why he behaves so.

And the “why” is God, who is rich in mercy and, hence, seeks sinners.  He brims with joy when a sinner, a lost son, repents.

The Father, yes, spurs Jesus on, through the Holy Spirit, to welcome sinners.  After all, Jesus does just what he sees the Father do; he teaches no more than what he learns from the Father.

And he sees, and knows by experience, that God loves us humans very much.  And that is why he, the Father’s only Son, has not come to judge us, but to save us.

To let Jesus’ mercy bother us is to give away that we do not know God.

The Father, then, is not the harsh judge that the Pharisees and the scribes speak of.  Far from being what they think, he is soft-hearted and full of mercy, slow to anger, very kind, and true.  And it looks like that those who forget this lose sight, too, of what matters most in the law:  justice, mercy, being true.  It is to be stricter than the one who knows that to be human is to be prone to do evil.  For God knows that we are made of clay.  David was right to choose to fall into God’s hands, for his mercy is great, than into men’s hands.

Indeed, Jesus shows us God’s true face.  The true face of the one who did not carry out his threat against the stiff-necked, and who will later treat Saul with mercy.  There is no doubt that mercy is the trait that tells us who and what God is (SV.EN XI:328).  No, he is not the tough master that a servant must please, and not bother, to have feathers in his cap.

And as such master does the older son serves his own father. This son stands for the Pharisees and the scribes, smug, sure, pleased.  But their trust is not in God, but in their works and merits that make them feel sure and pleased.  And they are angry since those who they think are of no worth get their feasts.

But the Father forgives even his children that are brazen in their wish to see him dead.  And he holds a family reunion, a feast.  But those who are smug spurn it; they do not want communion.  Do they want another 9-11 or 3-11?

Lord Jesus, grant that those who are friends to sinners not bother us.  And make us learn that, before God, no one is above another or has merits, no one can boast or be brashly vain (Comentarios al evangelio 1).

11 September 2022
24th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Ex 32, 7-11. 13-14; 1 Tim 1, 12-17; Lk 15, 1-32


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