“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.” Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Reflection by Jonathan Sitko, Catholic Apostolate Center Staff
This Sunday’s Gospel reading recounts for us the parable of the Prodigal Son. The importance of the message in this parable while we are in the midst of celebrating the Jubilee of Mercy cannot be discounted. The younger son understands that he has made many mistakes and is now destitute because he squandered the inheritance of his father. Now, he seeks forgiveness from his father, and when he returns home he says: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.” He has swallowed his pride and pleaded for forgiveness for making these mistakes.
If I was the father in this story, I would be upset over my son wasting the gifts I had given him. But what does the father do? He does not get even momentarily upset. Instead, he rejoices: “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.” Through this parable, Christ is explaining to us the merciful side of God the Father. Even if we squander the gifts that God the Father gives us, He celebrates the return of those lost by welcoming them back into his embrace.
Throughout this Year of Mercy as we reflect upon how we can be an example of God’s infinite mercy to others, consider how you can be the father in the parable to someone who seeks God’s love and mercy. Celebrate their return to God and be the physical manifestation of that joy.
God of Infinite Mercy and Love,
Provide me the wisdom and compassion to embrace and
love all, the way You embrace and love me. Provide me the
strength to be a vessel of your forgiveness to those that may
have harmed me and others, but that are truly seeking your love
and kindness. And as I enter the final weeks of Lent, help me
understand how to celebrate your Resurrection with others, and
not waste my own gifts that You have given me. Provide me the
compassion to celebrate those that seek to be with You again.
Focus on: Spirituality
Write a list of the people in your life that you would want to see after a long absence from them. It should include people that you would consider family, or hopefully actual family, which would make you sad if you have not spoken to them in one month or more. Pray for them this week, and thank God for bringing them into your lives. Pray for God to protect them and keep them safe. Like the father in his relationship to his son in the parable, these people are those who matter most to you. Take the time to thank God for blessing you with these people.
The message of this passage for me is to hear the stories of people, and to share with others the gifts God has given to us. A great place for such sharing of human-to-human moments would be volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter. Simply listening to a person’s story with an open heart can make the difference between a good and bad day in their lives. You then serve as the face of God’s compassion, and can provide a moment of empathy that sometimes is lacking. It also serves as a place for you to offer your skills, whether they be listening, serving, organization, etc. This serves as a small reminder of the need to give to others what God has given us.
This reflection is part of our Lenten Series – Download the Lenten Guide Here