Todays Gospel 31.3.19
Today Gospel and Reflection
Luke 15:1-3,11-32
The prodigal son
The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:
  ‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
  ‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.
  ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.
  ‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”
  ‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’
REFLECTION (from the online ic daily reflections)

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.’” Lk. 15:17-19

Why do we cling to our sins?  This passage comes from the story of the Prodigal Son.  We should know that story well.  The son decided to leave his father and take his future inheritance, spending it on a life of sin.  When the money he had ran out, he was in desperate need.  So what did he do?  He came to his senses!

This line alone is worth our meditation.  First, it reveals what happens to a person who falls into a life of sin.  In this case, the son eventually reaped the fruit of his sin.  He found that his sin left him destitute and alone.  He didn’t know where to turn.  And though our sins may not be to the extent of this son, we will all experience the empty effects of the sins we commit, just as this son did.

The profound insight we can gain from this son is that he did come around.  Specifically, by “coming to his senses” he recognized two important things.  First, he realized that he is worth more than a life of destitution.  No one should have to live an impoverished and empty life.  Therefore, by seeing his own dignity he came to realize that he was made for more.

Secondly, he knew he could turn to his father.  What a blessing it was for him to know this.  The reason he knew he could turn to his father was that his father clearly loved him with an unconditional love.  The mercy in the heart of the father was so strong that the son was aware of it and this awareness gave him confidence to turn to him.

Reflect, today, upon this twofold action.  The son sees his misery and also sees his father as the person to whom he can confidently turn.  We must strive to do the same in our own lives.  The Father in Heaven will never reject us.  No matter what we have done or how far we have turned away, the Father’s love is perfect, relentless, unconditional and always inviting.  He is ready and willing to dismiss every wrong we have done if we only turn to Him in confidence.  Come to your senses in regard to your sins!  Let go of them, repent and trust in the mercy of God.

Lord, my sins do leave me dry and empty inside.  I see the misery and pain that result from the sinful choices I have made.  Help me, dear Lord, to come to my senses and to turn from every sin I commit.  Help me to see that Your mercy is far greater than anything I have done.  I thank You for Your perfect love and turn to You in my need.  Jesus, I trust in You.