Sat, 30 March 2019
(Jos.5:9a,10-12; Ps.34:2-7,9; 2Cor.5:17-21; Lk.15:1-3,11-32)
“Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.”
As the Israelites now realize their redemption from slavery in Egypt as they step into the Promised Land, so the prodigal son comes to his own redemption, his own release from slavery as a hired hand in a foreign land, as he returns to his father’s house. Yes, as the Israelites “ate of the produce of the land” for the first time after the feast of Passover, so the prodigal son feasts on the “fattened calf” slaughtered for him by his merciful father. And the redemption of both is a redemption from sin.
Today we hear quite clearly “the message of reconciliation” proclaimed throughout our readings. It is a call to all souls and a thanksgiving to God, “who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ.” And will we come to the water and drink? Will we leave behind “the pods on which the swine fe[e]d” and come to His table to eat? Will we too come to our senses and, realizing the mercy the Father holds for all His children, return to the House of God and feast in the land to which He leads us?
It seems certain, and simple, that we should join David in his song of praise, that we should heed him as he entreats our souls: “Glorify the Lord with me.” For as “from all his distress He saved him,” so from all our distress He saves us; and so nothing should fill our hearts but joy. “He was lost and has been found,” the Lord declares in jubilation over every poor sinner who returns to His fold. And so, should we not respond gratefully to the appeal of Paul and all those entrusted with “the ministry of reconciliation” to indeed “be reconciled to God.” In faith let us confess our sins and know the gracious blood of our Redeemer pouring upon our souls.
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” And now He waits on the road before His House for our return. Now He longs to open the doors of forgiveness and let us into His dwelling. Now He would see the sacrifice of His Son bear fruit, that we all might be as He is. Accept His removal of sin like a sword in the depths of your soul, and enter into His kingdom.
O LORD, let us eat of the yield of your Holy Land
and become a new creation.
YHWH, let us be reconciled to you who hold your arms open to receive us poor sinners. In your Son and in His sacrifice you offer us redemption from all our iniquity and invite us in to sup with you in your House, in your eternal kingdom. We are not worthy of such grace, but your love transcends our unworthiness.
To the Promised Land the Israelites come, having left the bonds of Egypt behind. You gave them bread by your hand on their way to freedom, and now the fruit of that land they eat and find themselves well fed. The Prodigal Son is welcomed home by his compassionate father. The fattened calf is killed in celebration of his return, though half of his father’s property he has squandered in his sin.
O LORD, how can we fathom your love for us, your invitation to us to come back to your side despite our disobedience? May all men come to their senses and call out to you.