A Father’s Unwavering Love

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Readings for Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor – Optional Memorial

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“Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.” Then the celebration began.  Luke 15:22-24

In this familiar story of the Prodigal Son, we see courage in the son by choosing to return to his father.  And this is significant even though the son returned primarily out of desperate need.  Yes, he humbly admits his wrongs and asks his father to forgive and to treat him like one of his hired hands.  But he did return!  The question to answer is “Why?”

It’s fair to say that the son returned to the father, first and foremost, because he knew in his heart the goodness of his father.  The father was a good father.  He had shown his love and care for his son throughout his life.  And even though the son rejected the father, it doesn’t change the fact that the son always knew he was loved by him.  Perhaps he didn’t even realize how much he actually realized this.  But it was this certain realization in his heart that gave him the courage to return to his father with hope in the father’s abiding love.

This reveals that authentic love always works.  It is always effective.  Even if someone rejects the holy love we offer, it always has an impact upon them.  True unconditional love is hard to ignore and it’s hard to push away.  The son realized this lesson and so must we. 

Spend time prayerfully pondering the father’s heart.  We should ponder the hurt he must have felt but also look at the constant hope he must have had as he anticipated his son’s return.  We should ponder the overflowing joy in his heart as he saw his son returning from a distance.  He ran to him, ordered he be well taken care of, and had a party.  These things are all signs of a love that cannot be contained.

This is the love the Father in Heaven has for each of us.  He is not an angry or harsh God.  He is a God who longs to take us back and reconcile with us.  He wishes to rejoice the moment we turn to Him in our need.  Even if we are uncertain, He is certain about His love, He is always waiting for us, and deep down we all know that.

Reflect, today upon the importance of reconciling with the Father in Heaven.  Lent is an ideal time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  That Sacrament is this story.  It’s the story of us going to the Father with our sin and Him lavishing us with His mercy.  It may be frightening and intimidating to go to Confession, but if we enter into that Sacrament with honesty and sincerity, we are in for a wonderful surprise.  God will run to us, lift our burdens and put them behind us.  Don’t let this Lent go by without participating in this wonderful gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Father, I do sin.  I have turned away from You and acted on my own.  Now is the time to return to You with an open and honest heart.  Give me the courage I need to embrace that love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Thank You for Your unwavering and perfect love.  Father in Heaven, Holy Spirit, and Jesus my Lord, I trust in You.

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