Because of our capital campaign, I did not give a typical homily this Sunday. However, I did offer the following brief reflection on the Gospel reading, the parable of the prodigal son (Luke -32):
The prodigal son learned many lessons between the time he took off with his inheritance, and the time he came back without it. Here are a few of the most important:
He learned, first of all, that no sins are unforgivable! He thought, of course, that his were! And that’s understandable, because in leaving as he did he had decisively cut himself off from his father and from his family.
That, spiritually speaking, is exactly what mortal sin is: a mortal sin is one that cuts us off from God the Father and from the sanctifying grace that comes to us through our spiritual Family, the Church.
The prodigal son didn’t think he could be forgiven for his many mortal sins; he just hoped he could be “tolerated” by his father for what he had done. But he soon learned that his Father’s mercy was greater than all the evils he had committed.
Hopefully we learn the same lesson each and every time we go to Confession. When was the last time you went?
The prodigal son also learned that sometimes suffering can be a blessing in disguise! Think about it: if he had not spent all that time with Porky Pig and his friends in the local pig sty, he probably would never have re-established his relationship with his father! In all likelihood, the two would have remained disconnected for the rest of their lives. But his suffering woke him up, and motivated him to go back to his dad in a spirit of sincere repentance—and that was a great blessing.
He also learned to be grateful. The prodigal son learned to be grateful for the many blessings he had in his father’s house--blessings that he had obviously taken for granted earlier in his life. In fact, that’s one of the reasons he left his dad in the first place: he didn’t realize he had it so good!
Dear Lord, help us to apply these 3 very important lessons to our own lives. Help us to trust in your incredible and inexhaustible mercy; help us to be aware of the many blessings that come to us through our daily sufferings; and give us grateful hearts, now and always. Amen.