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.’”
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your Love. Amen
“Everything I have is yours.”
Love alone Converts!
This beautiful parable is a favorite for many of us, I love to ponder the Father’s love. As we ponder the Father’s love lavished uniquely upon both sons, it seems to me a singular question arises, and that is: ‘What do they do with the Love?’ Because it will determine how the story ends. What do they do with the lavish love, that is being poured upon them, ‘pressed down shaken and flowing over’ so to speak from the Father’s heart? Can you feel the incredibly tender powerful fiercely loving bear hug the young son is wrapped in, when the Father runs to embrace him and kiss him? He who is coming back to ask forgiveness from the Father has somewhat mixed intentions. The Father doesn’t care, He just lavishes love on him. The younger son receives an ocean of Mercy. And then the elder son—can you feel the tender, immensely humble love of the Father, vulnerably stooping down to Him, trying to reach his heart, trying to help him rise and love and rejoice with his younger brothers return? Can you feel how powerfully tender that moment is, when the Father leaves the entire celebration and goes outside in the night air, and looks for where his son is and finds him, smoldering outside, clearly angry, clearly resistant, and talking to a servant with a justified manner and as the Father approaches him he is already turning the other way? Can you feel the humble love that stoops down to him? The eyes that gaze upon him searching the depths of what has made him so bitter? Can you feel the ocean of the Merciful Love of the Father right then and there?
The Question is, in my heart, what do they both do with the Love that is coming upon them? That is the ‘game changer;’ everything can change in an instant if we receive His Love, if we let His love in. What does it mean to ‘receive His love and to let His love in? For me, it means to listen to His Word and allow His Word to recreate me and transform me in His Love. To allow Him to look into my eyes and to not look away in any direction, just to allow His gaze to penetrate my entire being. To see, what is right there in His eyes and to believe in what I see, with the eyes of my soul.
Love alone changes us, Love alone converts.
What is my response right now to the powerful, merciful, tender and humble Love of my Father in heaven? Will I let Him in? or will I continue very much the same today as yesterday? The Father said: “Everything I have is yours”, Do I believe in His love for me? Will I allow this belief to change me right now?
Aspiration: Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me, I love you Jesus. Amen (Mother Teresa)