The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Sunday, 27 Mar 22

Luke 15:11-32

I have always like this parable. In fact, I have been something of a prodigal myself. But whenever I hear or read it, my heart trulygoes out to the elder son. In this world, how easy it is for the ‘good’ child, for the ‘good’ man or the ‘good’ woman to come to the conclusion that they are overlooked and under appreciated.

​Here’s a metaphor:  How you know which pair of new shoesreally fit?  Are they the expensive, fine-looking ones?  You know, the uncomfortable ones; the shoes that break down too soon; the ones you’ve folded under your heel because of that blister they caused? Nahh. The best shoes are the ones that you can’t even tell you have on!  They don’t pinch your toes or rub your heels; they don’t fall off or gape at the sides – yep, you don’t even know you’re wearing them.  

​So, are we to conclude that the expensive, uncomfortable shoesare the best ones to have because we pay so much attention to them?  The Prodigal Son was expensive when it wasn’t convenient; he hurt feelings and eventually hurt himself.  He was fussed over when he finally did the right thing – he was well-loved, after all.  

​But what about the elder son; the one who never asked for anything?  The one who was always obedient and reliable?  His father comes to him when he’s being peevish and reassures him that of course he is well-loved, and always has been.  That he – even he – can have whatever he asks for and will be given his inheritance at the proper time.

The two sons are truly the children of their father. Both are loved. We are truly the children of our Father. We’re loved when we make mistakes. We’re loved when we do what is right. We will be celebrated when the time is right. We will receive our inheritance at the proper time. We are, after all, well-loved and always have been.

What Does Lent Mean to You?

As we prepare for the beginning of Lent we are reminded of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan. Through His obedience to God, and His love for us, Jesus knew that this was the only way to ensure salvation for the world.

How are you going to spend the next 40 days? Are you giving up something like chocolate, or sweets all together, maybe caffeine, or soda, maybe you are going to be nice to others, or even give to the food bank or shelters? Do you give up the same thing every year? Do you fall away from your promise halfway through the season, or give up on it all together? 

Might I suggest that we in the community of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s pledge to pray for the conversion of sinners throughout the world this Lent?

So, whatever your plan is for this Lent, I pray that you are able keep your Lenten pledge, and if you feel yourself slipping away, remember, we are not in this alone and all we have to do is ask God for help. May the Holy Spirit guide you now and forever.

Ms. Cheryl Riley, OP

The Extreme Importance of Faith

It’s not news that our entire world, both sides of it, religious and secular, is in a tailspin right now. We need something to grab onto, like a buoy, to steady us and keep us from going under.

In these and future turbulent times, remember this important point: Jesus is our rock. We do not put our trust in men, we put our trust in the Lord our God. He, alone, is our Savior. Keeping our eyes fixed on God, we can discern His will in our own lives.

Sometimes God will test us. We are frequently unfaithful to Him, so he gives us opportunities to restore our relationship with Him. The graces that he offers us are innumerable, and they require our cooperation. That means we must surrender our own will to His. We can fight it and be miserable or we can accept His will for us and cooperate with it. The choice is ours. Attitude is everything.

Jesus never promised that our trek would be easy or comfortable, either. He promised us the forgiveness of our sins and an eternal share in His Kingdom, if we take up our cross and carry it daily. Yes, this is a requirement to be a disciple of Christ.

What does that mean? Well, in short, it means to accept God’s will in your life. Jesus said, “…Father, take this cup from me… Your will, not mine.” He surrendered His own will to that of the Father, giving us the perfect example to follow. Your will, my Lord, not mine. This isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Trust is essential, here. And there are steps we can take to build that.

The first step is putting God first in our lives. How do we do that? Well, arranging our secular life around the Mass schedule is a great place to start. Attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. We have some Holy Days coming up. Rearrange your schedule to attend Mass on those days, even if it’s a week day.

Pray every single day. Pray in thanksgiving for something in your life. Pray before meals, even when you’re in a restaurant or at someone else’s house. Pray the rosary. Don’t know the mysteries? Has it been a long time? There are books available to help. Don’t have a rosary? Get one, a rosary book and use it. It’s the best 20 minute daily habit to start.

The hard truth is that unless we act on the graces offered to us, then the chaos of modern life will continue to drag us down. Prevent the emptiness and despair that the world offers.

So, to sum it up, this craziness that dominates our world is a distraction meant to confuse us. Don’t let it shake your faith. No one is more powerful than God. Don’t let anyone come between you and Him. By attending Mass attentively on a regular basis and praying attentively every single day, we’ll begin to feel this hunger to know more, for a deeper relationship with Him, the world around us will appear differently, we will understand that our desire will be for God and can only be sated by Him.

Putting God first, putting His will before our own, this is order. This is the way to satisfaction. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Do you want to be satisfied? It’s a true test of faith to hand your life over to God. It is truly right and just.

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