Saturday of the Second Week of Lent
Book of the Prophet Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12,
& Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Today’s readings are all about forgiveness and God's mercy, yet there is another angle to forgiveness which deals with justice. God is merciful and forgives our sins whatever they are, if we are contrite, if we are sorry, and simply ask. However we must ask one question; how does that relate to responsibility for our actions?
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, circa 1667-1670.
In Luke’s Gospel narrative of the prodigal son, the bad brother takes his inheritance early, leaves home, and squanders his money. The good brother stays home and continues to work for his father and will wait for his inheritance. When the bad brother returns home to a rejoicing father and a party, we can understand why the good brother feels betrayed by thier father. The good son has obeyed his father’s wishes, worked hard and gained no reward. It seems the bad brother should not get a reward for his iniquity and should be abandoned. His father explains to the good son that everything he has is his already. His brother who was gone (lost) has returned, which is indeed cause for celebration. Celebrating that bad son’s return doesn’t hurt the good son for he still has everything he has worked and earned.
Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners which was an unheard of activity. They were not considered good people with which to associate, and the implication was that anyone who associated them was a sinner as well. However, Jesus had a mission to help people, to turn them from their wicked ways and place them on a path of righteousness. Those on the right path did not need him as much as those heading in the wrong direction and are already on the right path have their reward in heaven. If a sinner who is lost could return to the right path, well, that’s worth rejoicing, isn’t it?
Question of the Day: During this season of Lent will you return to the Lord through the sacrament of Reconciliation?
Prayer: “The Lord is kind and merciful. He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.”