Saturday, February 27th – Sr. Monica Cormier, S.C.C.
Gospel: LK 15: 1-3, 11-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
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.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”
Lost and Found
When I was 18 years old, I graduated from High School in June and in August; I left my parents’ home in Baton Rouge to join the Sisters of Christian Charity in Chicago. I am told my dad cried, but he didn’t let me see those tears. He simply let me go with his love and his blessing. What enables a parent to let go of their child and allow them to follow their own life? How does one learn to love so deeply that they allow another to leave them?
In the parable of the Prodigal Son we hear how the son asked the Father for “his share” of the estate, and the Father did as the son asked. What did the neighbors think of this Father? Did they ask if he was crazy? Did they shake their heads and wonder how long it would be before the son would come crawling home, begging to be taken back? And did they expect this Father to “teach that wayward son a lesson”? If they did, then they surely must have thought this Father was foolish when his son did return and the Father took him back lovingly and generously without any questions or words of rebuke!
What kind of love is this? What kind of love lets me make up my own mind, make serious mistakes, come back, time after time, asking for forgiveness and gives me chance after chance to get it right?!
I have come to believe that it is the kind of Love God has for me (and you)! Do I deserve it? No. Do I sometimes abuse it? Yes. Do I long for it and then rejoice like a person who has lost something precious when I once again discover it deep in my heart? You bet I do!!
So, how does God love me and how do I learn to love like that? God loves me with great patience, especially when I make mistakes, like thinking I am better than others or always right! God loves me with great tenderness when I recognize my faults and feel so unworthy of his kindness. God loves me with great love for no apparent reason at all, just because He does!!
I desire to learn to love others like that too, with patience, with tenderness and with great love no matter the response of the one I love. Sounds crazy? You bet it does!
Sometimes, I still get lost trying to find my own way and thinking I know best. That kind of Love, God’s Love, still waits for me to just turn around and come to my senses so I can be found once again! Can I do any less for others?
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