Sunday, March 18, 2007

4th Sunday of Lent

Today’s Gospel – the parable of the prodigal son – is a beautiful depiction of the never-ending love and mercy of God our Father. It is one of the main texts from Scripture that the Church uses in describing Confession. The following is a reflection based on this parable as found in the Magnificat’s Lenten Companion:

“What about the pigs?

Neither son treated the father as a father. They loved him for what he could give them. The younger son reduced his father’s love to half of the inheritance, the older son reduced his father’s love to a work wage, something he deserves from the father in payment for his labor.

Only when these wayward sons admit their sinful pettiness and recognize that their father loves them tenderly and is ready to forgive them, only then will they discover who the father is. Only then can they begin to experience the unconditional, unimaginable, superabundance of the Father’s love.

There is nothing greater than the Father. No gift that God the Father gives can compare with the Father himself. More than anything else, our heart desires the Father.

Sofia Cavaletti, who developed the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for young children, warns that if you tell this parable to very young children, they will miss the point. They will ask, ‘What about the pigs?’ They will remember that the younger son left the pigs with no one to take care of them.

Young children are simple enough to understand what is most important in life. This parable is too complicated for them. We who have become complicated are called by this parable to become like little children: true sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.”

6 Comments:

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Tithing&Giving to the Poor said...

Thank you for posting your homily, Father Greg. I have a question for you.....tithing. Does tithing include time, talent & treasure(money)? How should a Catholic Christian distribute treasure? We help support 2 families who live below the poverty income level (groceries, rent money, clothing). They have fallen into hard times due to illness and the other family -dad desertion. If we continue to help these families, we feel like our tithing seems too minimal. Is our first priority to give a certain percentage to the church and then help others? We live on a budget and we are not sure what to do.......If we had more funds, we could do it all and still pay our bills. Yet we must apportion the funds. What is the right way to do it?

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll leave the tithing part for someone more knowledgeable. However, with regard to the families you describe, one good way to support them is to help them navigate the system in order to apply for and receive the appropriate services that they need. This is the reason we pay taxes, so that families in need could get the help they require. In Montgomery County, the social services are excellent. They give TCA (temporary cash assistance) for families for such items as groceries, rent money and clothing. There are free lunch and breakfast programs for the children. There are free utilitiy programs. And of course, there are other important services, such as counseling, medical services, etc. Also, there are numerous local organizations that provide assistance for families in need. People need help to apply for these services and they need not to see it as a failure on their part. The most difficult part for these families is understanding the process and filling out the correct applications. I'm sure you could help them in this area. This is precisely WHY the system is in place....for families in need.

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous tithing&giving to the poor said...

thanks anon for reminding me about the social services. Actually we did help one of the families (Baltimore County) receive food stamps and temporary cash assistance. The other family lives in southern Virginia, but they are part of a Catholic community. I will suggest that they research their county assistance and social outreach from the church! The second family just fell through the cracks recently. You helped answer part of the question! Hope someone or FG comments on the tithing&giving to those in need!

 
At 3:35 AM, Anonymous short hair said...

On another note: If you are going to join a religious lay order do you need to start attending Mass at a Monastery or can you continue going to your parish?

 
At 11:49 AM, Anonymous tom said...

Short Hair:

People who join lay orders remain members of their parishes, and would ordinarily continue to celebrate Sunday Mass at their parish church. If they do go regularly to a monastery or priory associated with their order, that would be due to personal preference, not the order's rule.

 
At 3:39 PM, Anonymous short hair said...

Tom,

Thanks for letting me know that. I thought I had to leave my parish to go to the Monastery.

 

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