CLICK HERE to view the sermon video.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
“The Lord is good, and His mercy is everlasting.” But do not believe that the Lord’s mercy is nothing more than an attitude or a pose He strikes. If you believed that, why would you beg Him to “have mercy”? Your own prayers testify that your hope that the Lord’s mercy is more than a posture. Your prayers urge you to believe that the Lord’s mercy is active, dynamic, always working for you. You believe that He will engage Himself in your struggles and give you help that exceeds your expectations—help that goes beyond any help that you have ever given or received.
When you cry out “Lord, have mercy,” you believe that the Father will He deal with you as a father would, because you have begged Him and relied on Him. So we cast on Him every care, every need, every fear, every godly desire—especially the hope of heaven—whenever we pray, “Lord, be merciful to me.” We hope beyond hope that our Lord God truly does not forsake those who seek Him; that He really is merciful and gracious, full of compassion, and abundant in kindness.
In the Gospel, you hear the mercy of God, and it confirms that your prayer is not in vain. You see Jesus as the Good Shepherd seeking you out. You know that God the Father earnestly anticipates your return when you go your own way, living however you please, getting lost in your base desires and your sinful addictions. And then you begin to believe that, even though you deserve no kindness from God, our Lord receives you and eats with you. You have a place at His table; you are restored to communion in God through Christ. The Lord is determined, relentless, single-minded with His mercy. He pursues you. He hunts you down. He comes after you.
There is the love of God: not that we sought Him out, but that He seeks us; not that we decided for Him, but that He persistently chooses us; not that we’ve settled on Him as our Help and Savior, but that He is proactive and resolute in reconciling us to Him, in bringing us into His kingdom, in restoring us to full and wholesome communion with Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us.
And that is what you see in today’s Gospel. The woman sweeps the house. She peers in each nook and cranny. She will not give up until she finds that coin. This is the Holy Spirit working in and through the Church. The coin is you, minted with the image of the Son. The Holy Spirit knows you belong, for He knows you will never rest until you rest in Him. And the Holy Spirit knows you, even though you’ve hidden yourself under layers of sin and filth. The Spirit seeks and searches for you, even though you often resist Him and don’t wish to be found. The Holy Spirit is unrelenting. Constantly He calls you to gather away from your sin, away from the things that harm your soul. Constantly He calls you to gather at this table, to be fed by our Lord’s holy body and blood. And constantly, deliberately, He gives to you the Lord’s undying mercy to soothe, strengthen, and settle you, even as you suffer the many temptations and heartaches and assaults of the devil.
This is the true picture of the Lord’s mercy: a Spirit who will not be denied; a Church that stands ready to welcome and seat sinners at the Lord’s table; the sending and persistent activity of His Holy Spirit, doing whatever it takes to restore and keep you safely within His holy Church. This is what our Lord wishes to impress on your heart and soul this day. If you see His unwavering devotion toward you, take to heart the full measure of His mercy and love. You will resist the devil, steadfast in the faith. You will even be bold enough to live that same relentless and active mercy for His sake in your dealings with anyone you meet. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.