Return to the Father

Meditating with Fr. Frank

On September 15, 2019, we celebrated the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

The Sunday Readings revealed to us a loving, compassionate and forgiving God.

In the First Reading (Ex 32: 7-11, 13-14), God goes out of his way, and forgives the Israelites, when they tested his patience and worshiped a false idol of molten calf during their exodus journey through the Sinai desert

In the Second Reading (1Tim 1:12-17), St Paul, who once persecuted Christians in the early Church, rejoices in God’s mercy and his loving forgiveness.

In the Gospel Reading (Lk 15:1-32), St Luke the Evangelist, tells three parables: each revealing a merciful God who rejoices at the recovery of the lost

There are three good lessons to take away:

We are all God’s children. We are all precious in God’s eyes. Each of us is important and loved by God. None of us is a waste, or beyond repair, or beyond redemption, or a lost case. Yes, life will sometimes take us in the wrong direction, wounding our personal relationship and friendship with God, yet God, who is most loving, forgiving, and patient, is always ready to repair and restore our broken relationship and friendship with him by the gift of his saving grace, and take us back, if we are willing and ready to open our heart to his mercy, and if we choose not to remain lost. The great St. Augustine once said: “God created you without you, God cannot save you without you”. The choice is ours!

Good Shepherd by Jean Baptiste de Champaigne, 17th century

Young people, do not break your parents’ heart. Stop driving your parents crazy! Before you stop listening, before you choose to drop out of school, before running away looking for fun far from home, remember how the prodigal son got himself into trouble. Being young and free does not shield you from vulnerability. Life out there is not as kind and forgiving as you think. Of course, this is not to suggest you should stay at home for ever. No responsible parent will be fine with that. Point is: be cool and be humble, and be patient, and wait on your parents to teach you how to fly, then you can leave the nest when time is ripe. That will save you the pain of crash landing.

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt

Parents, yes, children will drive you nuts!  Do not lose heart. Forgive their naivety and ignorance. They are still your children. They deserve your love, patience, understanding, counsel, guidance, support, and forgiveness. They are not ‘lost for good’ children. Receive each child with an open heart and warm hands when they return home, if they ever return home. Even when they still do not get it, that it is time to return home, do not lose hope. One day they will ‘come back to their senses’ and come home. For, nothing is impossible for God. AMEN.



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