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SATURDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF LENT, MARCH 2, 2024





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.'"


REFLECTION

'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;

I no longer deserve to be called your son.'


The theme "Metanoeo" or "repent" is throughout the Gospel reading. The son wants his share of the estate inheritance. The father's attitude is that everything he has is his. What joy the father had when his son returned. Did he sit outside by the fence waiting for his return? How long was he gone? Did the father pray to God for his son's safe return?


Many parents have a prodigal child. Whether it be drugs, mental illness, lifestyle choices, when someone we love steps out and leaves with all his belongings, returning home seems a pipe dream. It is very difficult when the human body/mind need fixing and we have done all we can. Nothing is impossible for God who is always present, always waiting for His prodigal child to say "yes" to his invitation to come home.


The prodigal son returns, with nothing, humbled by his state of existence. The father sees, runs, embraces and kisses him. The son steps into his father's home, returning to his love and enters the kingdom. With the past catching up with the present, his dad has forgiven and forgotten his transgressions.


Filled with joy, the merciful and compassionate father prepares a banquet. His other son jealously questions "why?" He saw how his father suffered when his brother left, without any notice where he might be. He was faithful and loyal to his dad, probably caring for him when he was ill, working double shifts--his and his brother's-- perhaps he had to change his future plans to remain with his father. The father loves his second son just as much in spite of his jealousy. The father will patiently wait for him.


Our heavenly Father offered up his only Son to redeem us, so that we, too, can come home to Him. He shows us the path for redemption. He gives us all that we need to follow Him: the commandments for a moral life, His spoken word through Holy Scripture and daily nourishment in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


PAPA's philosophy is to pray, serve and bless. We pray for all priests to be on fire for God. We pray for zealous priests to bring souls to God through confession and absolution, taking their sheep by the hand counseling and teaching them. More important, they, in persona Christi, feed us with the Glorified Body of Jesus as we journey home.


God Bless You



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