Scripture Reflection . . .
First Reading: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Gospel: Luke 15: 1 – 32
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is becoming one of my favorite scripture passages. It is here that I have the clearest sense of the love and mercy of God. Certainly as any good story can do, we can imagine the father’s lavish welcome of his “lost” son with a magnificent robe, ring, shoes, and a banquet. We also witness his compassion towards his other, jealous son. Yet, it is the merciful love of the father who has waited for his son and embraces him despite the pain and shame, that is deeper than sight. It is a love I experience deep within my own story. God always there to welcome me more abundantly than I can imagine; always compassionate towards that which is “lost” in me.
The First Reading from Exodus describes God’s response to his people’s choice to make a golden calf to worship- an image they can see and touch. How often do we seek “false gods” to fill an emptiness. Perhaps an emptiness that comes from that which is lost in us – our rejection of who we are; an experience from the past that we still struggle with; an addiction or other destructive pattern. Yet God’s response to the Israelite’s and to us is always forgiveness and compassion.
St. Paul in his First Letter to Timothy can attest to this mercy of God as he shares his sinful past and declares, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for this reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.” Paul never saw Jesus in the flesh, but in faith he experienced such mercy that his life was transformed.
Today is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. More than ever we are in need of this God who is closer than what we can see and feel. We have a God who is in our hearts calling forth mercy, love and compassion, but we have to be willing to “return home,” to let God find us – no longer hiding what is lost in us.
In Our Lives as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .
As the summer begins to wind down several Sisters took a week’s vacation together. The gift of slowing down and stepping away from the daily routine can provide space for God to enter in a little easier – and space for us to notice a little more deeply.
Two Sisters were on their annual Retreat – a grace-filled time of silence and simplicity in which to experience the love and mercy of God more deeply.
This weekend, several individuals were welcomed as Redeemer Associates in Florida, committing to integrate prayer, service and community into their daily lives as lay persons. Our Sr. Maryanne and some of the Redeemer Associates from Pennsylvania were there to accompany them as they seek to deepen their faith and relationship with God.
On Monday we celebrated Labor Day with a simple Mass and picnic. We are reminded that our work in ministries of compassion and creativity is a gift and that we have been given the abilities to carry out these ministries. We are also mindful that it is God who we seek to glorify in our work.
Friday was an occasion to celebrate the birthdays of our Founder, Mother Alphonse Maria (who would be 202) and our Sr. Katharina Maria (who is much younger!). We continue to experience the founding spirit and Charism of the love and mercy of our Redeemer in the lives of our Sisters today!
Today, Sr. Sophia celebrated her 60th Jubilee at a special Mass at the Cathedral along with the many other Jubilarians throughout the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Her life gives witness to the compassion of God, our Redeemer.
It is now two weeks since we welcomed three young people as Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteers. These young people have committed there lives to deepening their faith through service and community! They live together and join the Sisters at times throughout the week while serving in Pastoral Care, Women’s Health, and Community Garden ministries. We “see” God at work in their lives.
In Your Life . . .
Have you ever reflected on the Parable of the Prodigal Son as related to your own life? Where do you find yourself in the story? Perhaps you are the lost son who has gone astray and seeking to return home or you have found home and experienced healing love and mercy. Perhaps you are the other son, who has felt left out, taken for granted, jealous at another’s good fortune . . . Perhaps you are like the father who has forgiven and healed a broken relationship. Or perhaps you are a combination of each.
Finally, you may wish to consider a slightly different take on the story of the Prodigal Son. Consider Jesus as the Prodigal Son who leaves the Father and travels to a far away country. There he hangs out with sinners – tax collectors, prostitutes, drunks. And he shares with them the compassion of God and the promise of the eternal inheritance. For this he endures persecution and ridicule and finally death on a cross. However, this is the very event that brings him, and all whom he has healed, home. Reflect on this great love!
Blessings on your week!