Ninth Sunday after Trinity 2017
August 13, 2017
Old Testament Lesson: Wisdom 11:21-12:2
Epistle: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Gospel: Luke 15:11-32
“Lover of Souls”
Our sermon hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”, stirs many of us to fond thoughts of our Lord and Savior, Christ. We see Him not only as our eternal Savior from sin and death, but also as our loving friend who leads us into righteous living. Strangely, many people look to God, the Father, as an over-bearing, angry demagogue who simply wants to punish Man for his disobedience. What we read in the book of Wisdom, one of the deuterocanonical texts which are healthy for instruction but not ideal for doctrine, is that the God of the Hebrews who led them from captivity and who has mastery over all Creation is the Lover of souls. He is the source of life and growth. Without God, we would quite literally have and be nothing.
In our Gospel today, we read about the prodigal son who spends all his fortune on frivolity and selfish pursuits. When he finally realizes his plight and seeks a boon from his father to at least forgive him his mistakes and receive him as a slave, we read that his father actively watches for him and rejoices at his return. Welcoming him home, his father arrays him in joyful clothes and prepares a feast for his return. The prodigal’s brother though is unimpressed and frustrated that someone who has made such bad choices would be honored by his father. Understanding his frustration, the father turns to the older son and reminds him that his brother was lost, seemingly dead to them. In the younger brother’s return, they have the chance for renewed relations and fellowship, uniting them.
We are called to turn from our own wickedness in life, to refuse to participate in sin, and to walk in righteousness. When we fall to sin, our only recourse is forgiveness from our heavenly Father who yearns to welcome us back to Himself. Sometimes we presume we deserve His favor because we “follow the rules” and do “what’s best”