Jesus reveals the astonishing Divine Mercy of the Almighty Father upon the repentant 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.
2nd Week of Lent – Saturday – Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
After teaching about the extreme sacrifice required of disciples, and the brutal realities of the Judgment, Jesus offers a series of parables which reveal the overflowing Divine Mercy of 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 – omitted in today’s reading) which describe God’s great willingness to 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 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 hypocritical and judgmental Pharisees.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
While there are many beautiful meditations in the astounding Parable of the Prodigal Son by the Divine Prophet, consider: the perfection of Charity, Jesus has deep Empathy and Compassion for men stuck in sin and crafts a parable to give men hope that they can be forgiven; perfection of Kindness (a part of Justice), Jesus extols the kindness of the Prodigal’s father and rebukes the Envy (one of The 7 Deadly Sins) of the older brother.
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 of heinous and horrific crimes, 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 Hope so I trust 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 guilty for your sins and make reparations
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: Almighty Father, 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.