Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 10, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘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. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'”

Reflection on the gospel reading: We read today what is arguably the most beloved of all Jesus’ parables. It is traditionally called, the parable of the prodigal son. Prodigal means wasteful; thus, the traditional title implies that the younger son, who takes his share of his inheritance from his father’s estate to go off and spend it extravagantly, is wasteful. Jesus of course never used the words prodigal son to describe this parable; it is a superimposition on the narrative from later generations. But the title places the central focus on just one perspective in the story, a narrative that includes two other primary characters. This is not just a story about the son who swallowed up his father’s wealth with fast living. It is also a story about resentment, for there is a second son, the elder one, who is none too reticent to express his bitterness over either his lot in life or his brother’s return to the bosom of family life. And ultimately it is a story about a father’s indirect chastisement and gentle correction: some have suggested that it is the father in the story who ought to be called prodigal, for with both of his sons, ungrateful in their unique ways, he wastefully lavishes his love. Both of the sons are wrong, but the father provides for them and beckons both to reconciliation, love, and celebration.

In Jesus’ view, expressed in this parable, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to acknowledge this and become something new.

Saint of the day: Marie Eugénie de Jésus was born August 26, 1817 in France; her name at birth was Anne-Eugénie Milleret de Brou. She was raised in an educated and intellectual family with no faith; even so, the family apparently went through some of the motions since Anne-Eugénie received her first Communion on Christmas 1829 at age 12. She had a conversion experience, came to the faith, and felt a call to religious life by hearing the Lenten sermons of the Dominican Henri Lacordaire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France. She had a short novitiate with the Sisters of the Visitation at Cote Saint-Andre but did not take vows.

During a pilgrimage to the shrine of Sainte-Anne d’Auray in 1825 she felt called to founded a teaching institute that worked in the world but kept monastic observances. In 1839 she founded the group later named the Congregation of the Assumption (other names are “Religious of the Assumption” and “Sisters of the Assumption”) to perform this mission. The Assumptionists continue their work in 34 countries around the world today. Marie Eugénie de Jésus died on March 10, 1898. She was canonized in 2007.

Spiritual reading: Doing no evil is very good. But doing no good is very bad. (Alberto Hurtado, S.J.)

One Response

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  1. writenwod said, on March 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    The love of God is awesome. I pray many will get to know it.

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