A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
He is Eager to Receive Us Back
This weekend the gospel speaks about God’s mercy on the sinners. The following stories give an apt reflection on the three parables in the gospel.
1. A divorced woman found herself struggling with an increasingly rebellious teenage daughter. It all came to a head late one night when the police called her to pick up her daughter who had been arrested for drunk driving. The two of them didn't speak on the way home or the next day either, until at last the mother broke the tension by giving her daughter a small, gift-wrapped package. The girl opened it with an air of indifference and found it inside a small rock. "Well, that's cute, Mom. What is it?" "Read the card, dear," the mother replied. As the girl did so, tears began to trickle down her cheeks, and she gave her mom a hug as the card fell to the floor. On the card her mother had written: "This rock is more than 200 million years old. That's how long it'll take before I give up on you." That's what Jesus is telling us about God in today’s readings: He never gives up on us.
2. A teenager came to his pastor for advice: "I left home," said the boy, "and did something that will make my dad furious when he finds out. What should I do?" The pastor thought for a moment and replied, "Go home and confess your sin to your father, and he'll probably forgive you and treat you like the prodigal son." Sometime later the boy reported to his pastor, "Well, I told Dad what I did." "And did he kill the fatted calf for you?" asked the priest. "No," said the boy, "but he nearly killed the prodigal son!" This father needs to practice forgiveness.
3. The tradition of invoking St. Anthony's help in finding lost or stolen things traces back to a scene from his own life. As the legend goes, Anthony had a book of psalms that was priceless. Any book had value as there was no printing press yet. This was his prayer book. Besides, in the margins he'd written all kinds of notes to use in teaching students in his Franciscan Order. A novice who had already grown tired of living a religious life decided to leave the community. Besides absconding, he also took Anthony's Psalter! When he went to his room to pray and found it missing, Anthony prayed it would be found and returned to him. After he prayed, the thieving novice fleeing through the forest, was met by a demon. The demon told the thief to return the Psalter to Anthony and to return to the Franciscan Order. He did and was accepted back. Soon after Anthony's death, people began praying through him to find or recover lost and stolen articles. If we are lost by our sins, let us return to the merciful Father. He is eager to receive us back!