2nd Saturday of Lent
Micah 7: 14-15, 18-20;
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
The History of Salvation is quite awesome to read. Whenever God intends to deliver his people, he stirs up the hearts of the prophets to pray for them. We have an example of this in today’s first reading. The prophet Micah prays that God’s Anointed would take care of his people, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to go before them, while they are here in this world as in a wood, in this world but not of it. The prayer is answered in the person of the Good Shepherd who seeks out and finds the lost and prepares a banquet for the wayward who returns. The prophet’s prayer and God’s response was powerfully enacted when Pope Francis visited a prison in Mexico, at the end of his pilgrimage to that country.
Standing before men and women who had been incarcerated because of crimes they had committed, Pope Francis spoke of God’s pardoning mercy. “There is no place beyond the reach of His mercy, no space or person it cannot touch” (Pope Francis). Sin and wrong doing have brought us into spiritual bondage but God’s mercy extends pardon and forgiveness to us. When the One Who did not know sin became sin, God broke the power of sin and made all of us who are willing to receive the gift of grace heirs of the Kingdom. When God nailed sin to the Cross, He made the sin-sick world as white as wool and the sin-darkened world as bright as the sun.
The Good Shepherd has sought out the lost and placed them on His shoulders, making their burden his own. In His own body, He took our punishment so that through His wounds we would be healed and made whole again. The Mercy of God is everlasting to all His people. He who is mercy has extended to each of us unlooked for grace and unimaginable pardon. By so doing, the Prince of Peace has broken the cycle of violence and sin. No matter how low our sin has brought us, the Father has never ceased calling us Son/Daughter. When God works on the heart of a sinner, He convinces the individual of His infinite love and calls him back to His loving embrace.
I will close with a few comments of Pope Francis concerning the commemorative gift he left at the prison. “You encounter much fragility. Therefore I would like to offer you this fragile image, Crystal is fragile, it breaks easily. Christ on the Cross represents the greatest fragility of humanity; however it is this fragility that saves us, that helps us, that enables us to keep going and opens the doors of hope. It is my wish that each one of you, with the blessing of the Virgin and contemplating the fragility of Christ Who died to save us, sowing seeds of hope and resurrection”.