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Saturday, Second Week of Lent

March 26, 2011

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)

We ought to have “after Confession” parties.

That is, after all, what the father of the Prodigal did when his son finally came home.
Festive clothes, fatted calf, music and dancing–
this father was not to be outdone by the delights of the far-off country
that had so tantalized his son at the outset (see Luke 15:22-25).

Nor is the celebrating limited to this earth.
The angels themselves throw a bash every time even one sinner repents (see Luke 15:7, 10).

God loves to forgive! (see Micah 7:18)

Yes, He allows us to go our own way, if we must,
to learn things the hard way, if we will not learn the easy way from Him,
but He’s always watching for our return.
Like the father of the Prodigal, He runs to meet us at the first sign of our change of heart.

He celebrates!
And all Heaven celebrates with Him!

Why don’t we?

Well, one reason is that God’s celebration is too familiar
for us to recognize it for what it is.

Our Father has killed the fatted calf for us.
He knew we’d be famished, having half-starved in that foreign pigpen.
He’s invited us to a most elegant affair at a magnificent banquet hall
(yes, I know, some are more magnificent than others, but that’s our doing, not His),
at which He presides as the Master of Ceremonies,
and where we are to be honored in the finest attire.
He’s pulled out all the stops, with candles, fresh flowers and music,
the finest linens on the table and ornate dishes of real gold!

This is, of course, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
where Jesus Himself is the fatted calf ,
personally served to us with all the splendor of royalty.

This is God’s “after Confession party”
(Confessions are, after all, usually offered shortly before Mass begins),
at which He and unseen hosts of saints and angels rejoice over us.

It’s our “after Confession party” too!

Whether we’re the Prodigal, having just returned through the Sacrament of Penance,
or his older brother, having remained faithful,
we’re all invited to share our Father’s joy.

(This does put a new perspective on those who refuse to attend Mass
because they’re scandalized by the presence of sinners!
Apparently the older brother still has trouble with his Father’s generosity…)

So we do have “after Confession parties,” after all…

Let’s take our cue from these enthusiastic angels–and celebrate!

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