A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 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 the 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 fathers 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 fatted 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 fatted 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 your slaughter the fatted calf.' He said to him, 'My son, you are with me here 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."' The Gospel of the Lord
+ Let us Pray; Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest and in my soul take up Your Rest, come with Your Grace and Heavenly aid. +
Recalling how we begin all prayer, with invoking the Holy Spirit and reading this passage out loud, in a place where you can truly sit peacefully without interruption. I am sitting right now in a place I typically sit, when its too cold to sit outside by the lake. However I can see the icy lake and the sunrise coming above the horizon, it's beautiful and so easy to rest in the Lord and listen to Him here. Find your spot. We are going to touch on a few sentences for pondering and then we will rest upon one particular place of truth to bring to prayer. It is difficult to adequately touch on all the points-I could write a book on this passage, like many others, but we must keep it short for the purpose of this blog. Let us begin.
- "The Pharisees and scribes began to complain saying; 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them'. This is an interesting sentence. We oftentimes complain when we wanted a part of it, and we didn't get it. Perhaps they wanted His company and couldn't understand why he didn't choose them to eat with, and then the human reaction, to attack those he chooses to be with. That vanity of trying to get a boost up by stepping on others.
- "Father give me a share of your estate that should come to me". He addresses his father, acknowledging that the belongings are his, 'your estate,' but telling the father, that by right he is entitled. We can sense the ingratitude and the entitlement of the younger son, a lack of gratitude and humility.
- "The younger son, collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country". that 'collecting' of things tangible and trying to grasp, hold, collect, protect, that is so contrary to a son/daughter of the Father, and where does the younger son go? To a distant country, "distance" from his father, distance from Love, Warmth, Security, Providence...perhaps even, distance from his identity.
- "He hired himself out.......to tend the swine". the representation of the lowest place he had sunk to, the place no one would dare touch him or have anything to do with him. The tending of swine who were considered unclean. The younger son had reached the lowest place in his life. It's a very vulnerable place to be, when you have "nothing left", when you reach the bottom, and- it is a grace-filled place. A place of great tenderness and a place of encounter with the Lord - who is kind and merciful to the broken hearted, to those who feel alone and are hanging on by tiny threads of hope. This is the place we will remain for this Lectio, but stay with the point our Lord draws you to.
"Coming to his senses". these four words are very powerful words to ponder as disciples of our Lord. What does it mean "to come to our senses"? Perhaps it means that in the deepest part of the soul, comes a clarity, of a truth, that has been there all along. It has never left me, it is a Truth I possessed all along. But I somehow managed to lose sight of it, or I allowed it to become buried either willingly or unbeknownst to me. To 'come to one's senses', can be, that piercing deep interior recognition (light) of a truth that changes everything. But we have that truth all along, we just lost sight of it. All of this implies an interior movement of hearing, seeing, sensing, feeling, knowing in the faculties of my soul, that are all within, not external things. Yet the most acute senses of all, the senses of my soul are alive, as they are the place where the Lord dwells inside me and speaks to my heart, it's the place where He either reigns or I have abdicated Him (silenced Him). Perhaps, "coming to his senses" means the younger son, reached a place of interior harmony, where all came together, all become clear as day. A peace flowed with this recognition of Truth, and direction flowed from adhering to this voice of love and truth. This interior clarity gives direction, conviction, life energy and the hope of love restored, the hope of being "home again" with the Father: 'I shall get up and go to my Father.'
+Prayer: Loving Father, illuminate our hearts, with the splendor of your grace that we may always ponder, what is worthy and pleasing to You, and love you in all sincerity, we ask this in your name, Amen.