Jesus reveals the astounding Divine Mercy of the Almighty Father to those who repent from their sins in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by pursuing the Virtue of Faith so he can always trust and seek Christ’s Divine Mercy and by seeking the Gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit so can be strengthened by the Spirit to confront his sins. 

Liturgy

24th Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle C – Lk 15:1-32

Commentary

After teaching about the extreme sacrifice required of disciples, and the brutal realities of the Judgment, Jesus reveals the overflowing Divine Mercy of God, the God who goes to great lengths to search for those lost in sin and lavishly welcomes, forgives, and blesses the repentant. 

Accused by the Pharisees of coddling sinners, Jesus teaches two parables (Lost Sheep, Lost Coin) which describe God’s great willingness to search for lost souls and the astounding joy in Heaven when a soul is saved. Blinded by their arrogance and hatred, the Pharisees cannot recognize that they are part of the “lost” that Jesus  (God) is seeking to save. 

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an iconic masterpiece of Jesus’ teaching which is prophetically relevant for Catholic men today. God the Father (the father) suffers a grave insult (demand for an inheritance while still alive) by wayward Catholic men (the Prodigal).  Lost Catholic men (the Prodigal) leave the Church (go to a foreign land) and engage in all kinds of sin (sexual sin). After hitting rock bottom (the Prodigal is starving and feeding unclean pigs), lost Catholic men can repent (“I have sinned against you”), return to God (the father), be forgiven and experience His Mercy (the father welcomes the son, dresses him and holds a feast). God the Father (the father) corrects envious and self-righteous Catholic men (the older brother) who condemn others and desire rewards (a small goat) for simply obediently doing their duty; in Jesus’ time, the older brother of the parable represents the unmerciful and judgmental Pharisees. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be joyful as Jesus, Divine Mercy, confirms the forgiving love of God the Father: Son of the Father, Jesus confirms the centrality of patriarchy (rule of men), fathers and fatherhood; perfection of Virtue, Jesus builds the parable to confirm the condemnation of various sinful behaviors of the Prodigal (dishonoring one’s father, sloth, imprudence, fornication); perfection of Charity, Jesus confirms God the Father  loves all men, even those who are stuck in sin; perfection of Justice, Jesus affirms that men must humbly repent with deep contrition when they sin against God; perfection of Mercy, Jesus affirms His willingness to forgive even grave sins for repentant prodigals who willingly return to Him. 

Have an unshakable faith in Christ’s Divine Mercy

Realize: While it may seem that justice demands that a guilty man should not be forgiven, Jesus reveals in The Parable of the Prodigal Son that God perfectly loves every man and offers His overflowing mercy and forgiveness to every Catholic man if he simply returns to Him, truly repents, and confesses his sins in the Sacrament of Penance.

Believe: Reflect upon God’s Divine Mercy (CCC 210-211, 270, 545, 589, 1700).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Mercy, help me to grow in the Virtue of Faith so I believe in Your goodness and power to forgive my every sin and I experience the enduring peace and happiness of being Your contrite and beloved son. 

Be fortified by the Spirit to confront your sins

Realize: Like the Prodigal Son first recognized his guilt and then returned to his father to receive forgiveness, every Catholic man must first accept the guilt of his sin before he is forgiven by God the Father. 

Believe: Reflect upon Conversion and Repentance (CCC 1423, 1439, 1468) and how God Forgives Your Trespasses (CCC 2838-2841).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so I have Your help to confront my sins, again and again, humbly repent, receive the Sacrament of Penance, and experience the deep peace and joy of being forgiven and reunited with God.