“And even if the sins of soul are as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of My Passion.” -- St Faustina
Gospel text (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.’”
Today we see our Father's mercy. This famous Bible passage, The Prodigal Son, teach us of the great redeeming power of our Lord. He is willing to forgive us and treat us with the love and compassion that lies within him. No one in this world is perfect and sin casts over each individual. Despite the sin that lies with us, God is able to look past it and see a loving human being who has a purpose to live out on this earth.
God's ability to forgive, especially in times of personal growth and conversion is beyond our understanding. We are not privy to truly understanding the suffering or the conversion of another, so we must simply pray that God will intercede, especially in situations where we cannot control the actions/decisions of others.
«Father, I have sinned» (Lk 15:21), we wish to say it too, and feel God’s embrace in the Sacrament of Confession, while participating in the Eucharistic feast: «We shall celebrate and have a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has come... back to life. He was lost and is found» (Lk 15:23-24). Thus, since «God is waiting for us —each and every day!— like that father of the parable was waiting for his prodigal son» (Saint Josemaria), let's keep on marching in with Jesus to the encounter with the Father, where all becomes clear: «The mystery of man can only be solved through the mystery of the Incarnated Word» (II Vatican Council).
I have heard this famous Gospel reading countless times, but do we really believe that God is infinitely merciful? Fifteen minutes in the confession box can make all the difference in the world! Believe it!
So today, let us realize that God is with us every step of the way.