Who is like God?
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins; You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, As you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.
His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.
It is amazing when you consider it. We get two very powerful testimonies to the forgiveness of God. First, there is the reading from the prophet Micah. Rightly Micah’s name means “Who is like God?” And this is the very question Micah is asking as he considers the great forgiveness God constantly pours out on his people.
The gospel today from Saint Luke is probably familiar to us. It is the story of the prodigal son. There are many things that are interesting about this gospel story. First, it is a gospel story that involves the Gentiles, as the younger son who goes through his father’s inheritance quickly is tending pigs, something a devout Jew would never do.
It is a story about the Pharisees, the older son who feels that his simply following the Father’s commands was enough, rather than developing a loving relationship with him, represents the anger of the Pharisees who are jealous of the ministry of Jesus, and cannot recognize how it is that God is building the Kingdom of God through his son.
We can probably relate to both readings ourselves. How is it that God can forgive us? How is it that our sins are not so serious that they are beyond God’s love? Because when I think of it, I can recognize that I do not so easily forgive. But God can. His forgiveness is beyond anything we can imagine.
Just as the father in the story runs out to meet his repentant son, so too is God eager to meet us when we seek his forgiveness. The season of Lent is a time for us to recall that love God has for us. It is a time where prayer, fasting, and almsgiving become the means for us to see more clearly the face of Christ.
It is also the proper time for us to hear the call of salvation. For this is a very acceptable time, this is a very good time to seek the forgiveness of God. As we are reminded by the name of Micah, and by the love of the Father, perhaps this is a very acceptable time not only to ask, Whos is like God?, but in the sacrament of confession to hear the answer. No one.
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