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(If attending the second scrutiny in preparation for the Baptism of the Catechumens,

Year A readings are used. This reflection is based on Year C).

A reading of the holy Gospel according to 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.’”


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.

Do we deserve forgiveness when we return only because we are starving, at the end of our ropes and miss the comforts we gave away? Will we ever be worthy in seeking forgiveness if we have to prove that our repentance is sincere? After all, the rebellious prodigal son was returning because he was broke, hungry and had no place to rest. After all, he left his father because he did not care to be obedient to him, work for or with him and wanted nothing with his family. How humiliating to arrive ragged, dirty, hungry, thin and have people jeer, judge, stare or whisper about him. Where is his arrogance now? Where is his self sufficiency? Did he still possess shoes after a long walk? And the neighbors, without a doubt, would be indignant and gossiping about the whole situation.

But the young man knew that his Father would not reject him. He, most likely, would be the only one who would accept him. The young man cried to his father in need. And it was his father who rescued him from his distress.

It was the father who was filled with compassion, ran toward him, embraced and kissed him. Every day he looked for him. He received him without merit, empty handed, probably still with many weaknesses and filthy from his wayward life. The sinner asks for forgiveness and the father forgives his wretchedness, the evil of his sin.

Our eyes are opened in this parable. The father is daily waiting for his son. Such hope, such love. What if the servant had met the prodigal son and did not recognize him and "shooed" him away? What if his older brother had run into him first? We soon become aware of the unforgiving anger he has for his brother.

Has anyone loved us as much as this father? We witness such in the confessional. Sin separates us from God and through our repentance, God embraces us. The sinner who once was dead is now alive!! "Whoever is in Christ is a new creation." (Corinthians 5:17).

We do not know how happy we make God in reconciliation. "....more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7).

God loves us not because we are good, but because He is Good. (Magnificat, March 26, page 383) Accept with faith and generous hearts God and live with Him through the sacraments. Know God and seek a relationship with Him.

"Taste and see the goodness of the Lord"
(Psalm 34).

God Bless You.

PAPA Foundation
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