Study: Recall a time in life when you experienced God’s presence. How did it give you strength and direction?
Pray: Offer those needs in your life that need the Lord’s grace.
Serve: How can you reach out right now to someone in need? Who has God put in your life?
The readings this week explore the theme of salvation from a variety of different perspectives. We discover God’s desire to reach out to us in the following ways:
First – Moses intervenes, God does not punish
Psalm – prayer for a clean heart, steady spirit
Second – Paul’s example of grace
Gospel – 3 parables of God’s desire to save us
The first reading shows Moses responding as mediator between God and the wayward actions of the people of Israel. Moses pleads for the people, reminding God of the promises he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Because of Moses’ intervention the people are spared; this example of mediation foreshadows the saving work of Christ.
The psalm and response connect to both the first reading and Gospel. Psalm 51 is a powerful penitential prayer which seeks to renew in the reader a contrite and humbled heart. This psalm could have been the prayer of the people of Israel after they discovered Moses’ mediation! The response is taken from the Gospel reading and links us to the parables of Jesus.
The second reading offers St. Paul’s example of grace as an invitation for ourselves. In his own sin and weakness Paul experienced God’s mercy, and thus reminds us that Christ came to save sinners. Here we discover the reason for the Lord’s mediation in our lives – to lead us out of sin and into life.
The Gospel this week is a series of three parables. The first two are really “twins” which explore the same theme – God taking the initiative to seek out the lost. The last parable (the Prodigal Son) addresses the various aspects of our reception of God’s grace.
In this last parable we see the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness (the Father); we recognize sin and penitence (the younger Son); and we discern animosity, anger, and a wounded sense of justice (the older Son).
Where do we fit in? Where do we see the need for mercy in our lives? Where do we recognize our own sin and temptations? When have we felt wounded or betrayed by another? God’s grace extends to us all – the Lord reaches out to us that we might have abundant life.