Archive for March 5, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 5, 2016 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Found Alive Again:Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings:
Joshua 5:9-12
Psalms 34:2-7
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).

Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.

In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.

Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.

But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us – like the prodigal –  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.

God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”

The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.

Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.
 

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 5, 2016 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We all need the mercy of God in our lives. For without His mercy and grace we are lost. It is neither owed to us nor can it be purchased with lip service. Even the upright and righteous are doomed if they have not love in their hearts.

The face of God shines upon the man who humbles himself before the Lord. And with that same loving humility, serves the least of his brethren with a joyful heart.

O merciful and loving Lord, take away from me what is not worthy of You. Have mercy on me a sinner. And guide always my mouth my hands and feet, that I may serve You in humility and love. All the days of my life. Amen

First reading
Hosea 5:15-6:6

The Lord says this:

They will search for me in their misery.

‘Come, let us return to the Lord.

He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds; after a day or two he will bring us back to life,
on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence.

Let us set ourselves to know the Lord; that he will come is as certain as the dawn his judgement will rise like the light, he will come to us as showers come, like spring rains watering the earth.’

What am I to do with you, Ephraim?

What am I to do with you, Judah?

This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears.

This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets, why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth, since what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Gospel
Luke 18:9-14

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’