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Saturday, second week of Lent

March 14, 2009

Blessed Saturday!
God our Father, by Your gifts to us on earth
we already share in Your life.
In all we do, guide us to the light of Your kingdom.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 (God is merciful)
Psalm 103: 1-12 “The Lord is kind and merciful”
+Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 (prodigal son)

“Drop dead, Dad, I want my dough now”

The message was only implied, of course, but it wrenched the father’s heart as the prodigal sauntered down the road, knapsack bulging with the fruits of his father’s labor. That was the day the sad, silent vigil began, a daily scanning of the horizon for any hint of a return.

“I have sinned against God and against you!”

This passionate cry of repentance thrills the Father’s heart, unleashing His extravagant love. “He lives!!! Quick! The robe, the ring, the shoes, the fatted calf–let’s celebrate!!!”

“The bruised reed he will not break, the smoldering wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3). Far from it!

When we return, repentant, He restores to us the spotless robe of our Baptismal purity, our wedding garment for the marriage of feast the Lamb (Mass…and ultimately, Heaven). He gives us the ring of covenant love, the shoes of dignity, and spreads before us Heaven’s richest feast (the holy sacrifice of the Mass).

In stark contrast is the cold, self-righteous complaint, “I deserve better than this!” “For years now I have slaved for you. I never disobeyed one of your orders, yet you never gave me so much as a kid goat to celebrate with my friends”

You’ve never spent a desperate night starving in a repulsive foreign pigpen either.

This is the contempt that breaks the Father’s heart anew, wringing from His compassion a penetrating plea to break free of the self-made hell that locks a soul out of the ringing joy of redemption.

The Father longs, waits, pleads, extending mercy as far as it will go…but the bars of our prison are locked from the inside. Our fate is in our own hands. Until we come to our senses and surrender to His generosity, we will remain locked in the pigpen or out in cold, dark isolation while all is warm and plentiful and bright within our Father’s house.

May our receptivity to mercy bring joy to our Father’s Heart.

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