10, మార్చి 2023, శుక్రవారం

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

 

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, the readings of the day assures us with the unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness of the Lord, provided we are truly sorry for the shortcomings and ready to change the course of our life.

 

In the first reading, taken from the book of prophet Micah we have a prayer for pleading for God’s compassion and forgiveness. The people of Israel were in exile surrounded by other nations. They were living in fear and worries. At this time of their lives approach the Lord for forgiveness and protection. They were confident that God would be gracious and forgive although they deserve punishment for being unfaithful, and distancing themselves from Him. trusting in his promises and His faithfulness despite their disobedient and disloyalty they pray for His grace.

We have a best example in today’s Gospel in the parable of Prodigal Son. The nature of God is beautifully explained.

 

There are three main characters in this parable: The Father, the Elder Son and the Younger Son.

 

1.    The Younger Son: today he can represent a person who is careless and reckless; who rejects the gift of their life and family; who assumes that happiness is when he is away from all the blessings and closed ones.

The moment he thought of distancing himself from his family his downfall had begun, as the days went by fancying and engaging in immoral life he further went away physically, spiritually and mentally. After distancing and wasting everything he was left with nothing, nothing in his pocket and nothing in his status. He was reduced to a degrading level of shame and poverty.

Then he comes to his senses, to reality. So far he was living in fancy imaginations, built his palace outside, considering everything can be achieved by his wealth. But when reality hit him hard he realised the importance of family.

He decides to come to father asking forgiveness and asking him to be considered as one of the slaves. He knows what he has done.  He comes with fear and shame but was received with joy and celebration.  

2.    The Elder Son: today he can represent the self-righteous, consider themselves perfect in everything. Outside they appear wonderful but inside all rottenness.   (Medipandu) all that glitters is not gold.

He was hardworking, there is no doubt about that. He considered himself a loyal, faithful and hardworking son in the family. He considered himself obedient in following the word of his father. However when we reflect, he was with the Father but did not have the mind of the Father.

He was in the house but did not belong to the house in his thoughts and actions. He kept himself away with his mentality. That’s why he became angry and refused to enter the house and welcome his brother. 

3.    The Father: Father’s love and care was unconditional. It was the same for both the sons. No matter what they did, even if they went away, refused to come in, he was with open arms to receive them. There was no expectation for both.

Towards Younger Son: he was anxiously waiting and hoping for his return. Father had no conditions when he returned. It was pure joy, love and forgiveness and a time of celebration.

Towards Elder Son: Father said to him that everything he owns is His, so there is no need to be outside and distancing himself. Father put everything at his disposal but the elder son could not see it, so immersed in his self, work and that he could not grasp the unconditional love of the Father. 

 

The important question is to whom do we identify today and so on in our life.

    To the Elder Son (like body is present but mind is away),

    To the Younger Son (careless who thinks that distant mountains are soft and green and gorgeous),

    or to the Father (Unconditional love and forgiveness and wishes the good of both the Sons). 

Dear Brothers and sisters,  from the reflection on the readings we can feel happy that:

1.    We can absolutely be sure God’s love and forgiveness are available, provided we return with true sorrow.

2.    Cultivate the same attitude of the Father, his unconditional love and forgiveness. It is not just to remain but learn and apply to our lives.

 

'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.' (Luke 15:21)

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, (Micah 7:18)


FR. JAYARAJU MANTHENA OCD

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