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Luke 15:1-3, 11-14; 17-28; 31-32

The Word of God

Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he told them this parable:

‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.

‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’

 

Luke 15:1-3, 11-14; 17-28; 31-32
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • There are three characters in this story. Whom do I identify with? Can I see myself as each of the sons - the one who went astray; the one who remained faithful. Is there a hardness in me sometimes towards those who maybe don’t measure up?
    • Can I see myself called to be the loving father? If I am a parent, would I be able to welcome home an erring child? This story of the Prodigal Son is for me and is a call to mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Ask Jesus’s help where I see I particularly need it today.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This classic parable has a universal appeal. The figures of the father and his two sons are portrayed vividly and memorably. The description of the relationships between them is psychologically acute. The central character is the father; it is he who is "prodigal", not his younger son. The prodigality of the father's love is boundless and unconditional. He represents all that the Year of Mercy is celebrating.
    • Rembrandt's well-known painting of the father embracing his exhausted and conscience-stricken younger son draws us into the story at great depth. Notice the hands on the son's shoulders: the left one strong and sturdy, and right one slender and more feminine. It is as if father and mother are embracing their son: the father and mother in God.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The parable of the Prodigal Son gives me a picture of the steadfast love of God. There, Lord, you show how your heavenly father would appear in human form. When he welcomes back his lost son with tears of delight, kills the fatted calf, brings out the best robe, and throws a great party, it is not to please other people, but to give expression to his own overwhelming pleasure that his child has come home. You delight in me.
    • Time and again and God promises me goodness. I pray that my eyes may be opened to appreciate where God is working in my life.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The distress of the younger son, suffering hunger in a foreign country, made him long for something better. Deep down he was eager to find true love. He could have decided to be a criminal, as the only way out of his difficulty. But he felt in a big way that he needed the support of someone who loved him.
    • The Father shows what mercy really is. His welcoming his son back, as if nothing had happened, is strikingly genereous. His total love for his son was creative, giving new life to him.
    • The elder son was caught in the justice trap – he wanted justice not mercy. He desired that all things be measured and fair. But he had no idea of the originality and grandeur of forgiving.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This story is often told to highlight forgiveness or to focus on our need for repentance. It seems that Jesus told it so that we might relish God's abiding mercy. The Loving Father desires only to bless and to restore to love and dignity.
    • Lord, help me, this Lent, not to focus entirely on my sin but to keep my heart fixed on your love. Don’t let me be distracted by any false image of myself, but allow me to hear your invitation to grow in your image, to reflect your love.