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 being filled with the Virtue of Hope so he can always trust in Christ’s Divine Mercy and by growing in the Virtue of Vindication so he can have a healthy guilt for his sins and make reparations.
4th Week in Lent – Sunday – Cycle C – Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
After teaching about the brutal realities of the Judgment, Jesus offers a series of parables which reveal the overflowing Divine Mercy of God, who seeks those lost in sin and lavishly welcomes, forgives, and blesses the repentant.
Jesus offers two parables (Lost Sheep, Lost Coin – omitted in today’s reading) which describe God’s fervent search for lost souls and the astounding joy in Heaven when a single soul is saved. Blinded by their arrogance and hatred, the Pharisees cannot recognize they are part of the “lost” who Jesus is seeking to save.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an iconic masterpiece of Jesus’ teaching. God the Father (the father) suffers a grave insult (demand for an inheritance while still alive) by wayward men (the Prodigal). Lost 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 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 men (the older brother) who condemn others and desire rewards (a small goat) for simply obediently doing their duty.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Contrary to the rejection of God as Father, or the attempts to reject God the Father (and patriarchy) as being oppressive or obsolete, be strengthened by Jesus’ revelation of the truth about God the Father in The Prodigal Son: Son of the Father, with God the Father from the beginning, Jesus confirms God is to be understood and approached as “Father”; Divine Mercy, Jesus reconfirms God the Father’s exuberant love for all, including those who are in grave sin; Divine Justice, Jesus confirms that God the Father must be honored and requires the sinner to reject sin, have deep contrition, and return to the Father, in order to be forgiven and reconciled, a prefigurement of the Sacrament of Penance.
Be filled with hope by 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 the Father 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: God the Father Almighty, help me to grow in the Virtue of Hope so I trust in Your goodness and power to forgive my every sin and experience the enduring peace and happiness of being Your contrite and beloved son.
Be guilty for your sins and make reparations
Realize: Like the Prodigal Son first recognized his guilt of his sin and then returned to his father to receive forgiveness, every Catholic man must first accept the guilt of his sin before he can return to God the Father and be forgiven of his sins.
Believe: Reflect upon Conversion and Repentance (CCC 1423, 1439, 1468) and how God Forgives Your Trespasses (CCC 2838-2841).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Judge, help me build the Virtue of Vindication (a part of Justice) so I fully accept my guilt for the damage my sins have caused to me and others, realize how my sins have separated me from You, and take up the hard sacrificial work of making reparation to You and others through many Works of Mercy and mortifications.