FORTH SUNDAY OF LENT
A word from—Fr. Bob
Dear church family,
It’s Gaudete Sunday which means “Rejoice”. We wear rose or pink to symbolize that, plus this week especially starting Tuesday I’m praying, praying, praying for your healings as we offer you the great sacrament of healing of your body, relationships, your mind, and your heart—Just healing in every way. What a wonderful message from the Lord that first of all claims to St. Paul that we are a new creation—totally forgiven and given reconciliation. Praise God! Our response is that now and then we want to be ambassadors and fill ourselves with an attitude of righteousness–The righteousness of God in Jesus. So, we are claiming that ‘new creation’.
When earlier this week I was on a Day of Prayer down at Pevely, Missouri—my favorite place I call my holy ground, I got down there just as the sun was going down. I looked over the river and across the river are these, barren, brownish trees and for the most part, not too pretty. But here because of the sunlight I thought they were budding and were brownish white and it was just a marvelous scene and I just considered that a little miracle along with seeing all kinds of jonquils or marigolds. When I see them, I know Spring is here! So, I want to be all the more aware of being a new creation of many little miracles around me. It is amazing, just other day I was consoling a person who had just got a check from us and left. Then he came back saying he had lost the check. He looked all through his papers and doesn’t have it. So, I said to him, “In our Catholic tradition, we pray through the intercession of St. Anthony but I’m directly to Jesus and I’m praying right now.” And I prayed a prayer for him and lo and behold, he went through all of his papers again and there was the check! Needless to say, that man was very joyful and I just saw that as a little miracle.
Now let’s celebrate this favorite parable of mine that says so much, the basic message is that God loves us totally and wants to give that love in abundance and He is symbolized by the father and the father sees his son coming and instead of bawling him out or being cautious in his approach and response, the father represents total love and he shows it by running out to meet him and greeting him and hugging him and kissing him in all his squalor and dirt. Then he calls his servants to put a robe on his shoulders and puts a ring on his finger and they have a big celebration and kill the fatted calf as is symbolized in Scriptures. This son is so grateful but there’s lots of emotions here. There is emotion on the part of the son who can’t believe he is so easily forgiven and maybe he didn’t have all the right attitudes for wanting to be forgiven and to come back to his father whom he had hurt so much. But anyway, he is celebrating and we can feel him being so appreciative. But then there was one who was not appreciative of all this commotion. It was the oldest son and there was anger welling up in his heart. He could not rejoice because this brother who had caused so much trouble, and yet he was just filled all his life with duty and responsibility. But the younger son was filled with the desire for freedom and there was not love in that either. Thus, the older son had no love in his response. But then the father comes with great, great love and expresses it and wants his sons to just rejoice.
So, church, it’s a good day to REJOICE! In the Lord and to know that as the first reading from Joshua proclaims that God provides just enough. The manna ceases but they are to eat off the fruit of the land. Just having an attitude that we all should have of being satisfied and grateful. Maybe we take certain things and people for granted and maybe the Hebrew people took things for granted, but then the psalmist tries to call us to this attitude of being so blessed and satisfied when he proclaims, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”. We all could be all the more enjoying how much God loves us. That’s the message, great love and rejoicing as we hear this favorite parable of mine.
Love, Father Bob