Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – 2nd Week of Lent – Saturday – Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
After teaching about the extreme sacrifice required of disciples and the harsh realities of the Judgment, Christ offers a series of parables which reveal the overflowing Divine Mercy of God, a God who goes to great lengths to search out the lost and lavishly welcomes, forgives and blesses the repentant.
Accused by the Pharisees of coddling sinners, Christ teaches two parables (Lost Sheep, Lost Coin – omitted in today’s Gospel) which describe God’s great willingness to search for lost souls and the astounding joy in Heaven when a soul is saved. Blinded by their arrogance and hatred, the Pharisees cannot recognize that they are part of the “lost” that Christ (God) is seeking to save.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an iconic masterpiece of Christ’s teaching. God the Father (the father) is gravely insulted (asked for inheritance while still alive) by Catholic men (the Prodigal). 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), 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). A final note: the unforgiving and jealous older brother in the parable represents the harsh and judgmental Pharisees. Don’t be a Pharisee.
1) Across history, most of what the brightest minds have said and written is unknown or forgotten by most men. Be awed by how Christ’s sayings (“turn the other cheek”) and parables (Lost Sheep, Prodigal Son, Good Samaritan) continue to have impact 2000 years after the Incarnation.
2) The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a lesson in the Father’s overflowing mercy. During Lent, reaffirm in your heart to recognize God’s Divine Mercy (CCC 210-211, 270, 589, 545, 1700) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in faith and trust in His Mercy.
3) Like the Prodigal, to receive the Father’s mercy, every man must repent and return to the Father. During Lent, continue the process of Conversion and Repentance (CCC 1423, 1439, 1468), asking Christ to Forgive Your Trespasses (CCC 2838-2841). Examine your conscience, go to Confession and be blessed the forgiveness of your sins by Christ.