BUT NOW WE MUST CELEBRATE AND REJOICE, BECAUSE YOUR BROTHER WAS DEAD AND HAS COME TO LIFE AGAIN; HE WAS LOST AND HAS BEEN FOUND.’” LK 15:1-3, 11-32
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
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.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’” LK 15:1-3, 11-32
Jesus’s message today in the Gospel is definitely Good News! Whichever son a person is in the parable, everyone has been in both positions. The first son is lost and caught up in worldly possessions. The second son is the righteous son. He has been doing what is right. This does not mean he is not a sinner. The key to Jesus’s message is compassion. God the Father is the father in this parable of the Prodigal Son. God welcomes everyone back no matter how lost they get or how many times they sin. Bishop Barron says in his book “The Strangest Way” the second path to holiness is accepting ourselves as sinners. Every person has the 7 Deadly Sins deeply rooted in them. A person must learn what sin is, invite Jesus into their struggles with sin and fight it with God’s grace to become holy. A person does not fight it alone or will themselves not to sin.
Jesus revealed to us that to be holy, in prayer we ask the Father for the 7 petitions we need fulfilled each day, we invite Jesus into our life in the sacraments, and then we go forth to serve others. God’s grace uproots the Deadly Sins. Prayer and fasting build good habits or virtue. Almsgiving and Works of Mercy atone for sins. All that Jesus revealed to us to get back to the Father leads us to change the way we see the purpose of our life and leads to desire holiness or be like another Christ and return to the Father.
What I have found to be the greatest way to fight sin is to desire holiness, a desire to be close to Jesus and see Him in every part of my day. He truly is present now with every one of us. He is not dead, He is alive! Most importantly, I desire an intimate relationship with Him. I have seen His amazing grace at work in my life and the more I know Jesus and what He did for me, the more I know myself which helps me in all of my relationships.
When a person does sin the key is THEY MUST REPENT as the son who fell into the lie that the world and devil tries to get them to follow. A person must distrust ourselves and put our trust in God. Too many people do NOT repent. Jesus cannot die for the sins we do not repent for. Sometimes people fall too far away from God after they sin or because they are struggling with a sin that they currently cannot overcome. Others do not think sin has consequences.
Sin has very serious consequences. Jesus tells us this over and over in the Gospels. Jesus has tried to teach this lesson by appearing to two visionary saints, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Faustina had visions of Jesus with the message of Divine Mercy. God is trying to tell us something.
A person is constantly being called back to the Father through the Son to repent, our sins are small compared to the ocean of God’s mercy. God’s grace is bigger than any sin. God’s grace came to restore what sin has damaged. Another group of people fail at forgiving themselves. They go to confession then continue to feel guilt or continue to crucify themselves over past sin. They are taking away the power of the Cross. This is why Jesus died!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the Good News, someone took our place, it is unfair love!
What does repent mean? Repent means to change the way you think about life (metanoia) and stop the sin you are repenting for, this takes time and God’s grace to overcome with good counsel. It requires daily or monthly confession. It requires a personal relationship with Jesus in prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments. It requires fasting and sacrifice. It requires offering up your crosses and allowing Jesus to be with you in them.
So, where do we start? Prayer in front of a crucifix. Kneel or sit in front of that crucifix and just talk to Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Learn to be still and sit in silence. Jesus will not leave you without answers. He will wrestle with you and give you commands. He will test the intention of your heart. Most of all, He will love you like no human can. He will always have open arms for you to run to. He knows you better than you know yourself and He loves you more than you love yourself. Let Him love you!
God does not have a tablet keeping track of everyone’s sins. He has mercy and love with justice, sin hurts Him and everyone around us. We are called to forget our sins and our past shortcomings with lessons learned from them and look forward. St. JPII says, “We are not the sum of our past sins, shortcomings, and failures. We are the sum of God the Father’s love for us in the capacity of the image of Jesus Christ to the world!”
The beauty of God is our future, new hope, heaven, the heart’s greatest desire. St. Augustine says, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” We in turn are called to do the same for others. If we do not forgive others their transgressions the Father will not forgive ours. MT 6:15
The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you. When we learn to forgive ourselves, repent and change our lives to become holy, forgive others and have compassion (a heart full of understanding; to suffer with) God promises us an eternal future in heaven with Him because we have been transformed into Him.
Now that is the comfort and joy I have been looking for. A life of sin brings anxiety, worry, and misery. Sin is its own punishment. We hate living in sin. Let Jesus love you and heal your pain. Then, the celebration in heaven over a soul that was lost and now is found will be a great celebration!
Today’s challenge: Repent, change your life by getting to know Jesus better. When you get to know Him heart to heart, you will want nothing else but to be with Him and get to heaven. Then, you will fight sin, repent, have compassion, deny yourself, take up your crosses and become holy. Nothing else will matter!
Be a servant, become a saint!