Catechetical Corner

From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education

Theme: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Jesus teaches about forgiveness in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Summary: This is probably one of the best-known stories of forgiveness and mercy in all of the Holy Scriptures. Although the story is often referred to as the prodigal son, it speaks more about the prodigal father who lavishly pours out mercy and unconditional love upon a son who was lost and has returned. This is clearly one of the Christian truths that there is no one who does not need to rely on God’s mercy. If we take a closer look at both brothers, they have both moved away from their father in different ways, and the father extends the same mercy to each of his sons. The mercy of God cannot be exhausted, and we can always rely on the unbounded love that God has for us. It is the mercy of God that assists us in finding our way home.

Scripture: “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

In Scripture today, Jesus told a story about a man who lost something that was very precious to him. The story also told of the man’s joy when that which he had lost was found. This is the story that Jesus told.

A man had two sons. The younger son asked his father to give him his share of the inheritance that he had coming to him. The father gave it to him, and the boy left home to go out and see the world and have some fun. The father was broken-hearted. He had lost one of his sons. It wasn’t long before the boy had wasted all of his money on wild living. He had no money to buy anything to eat, so he got a job feeding pigs. Can you imagine sloshing around in the mud with a bunch of smelly pigs? It was the worst job you can imagine, but he was so hungry that even the food that he was feeding the pigs looked good to him.

The boy looked around at the situation he had gotten himself into and said to himself, “My father’s servants live better than this! I will return home and beg for the forgiveness of my father and ask him to take me back as a hired servant.” As the boy approached his father’s house, his loving father, who had been watching and hoping for his son’s return, saw him coming and ran to meet him. He threw his arms around him and hugged him and kissed him.

The father was so happy that his son had returned, that he gave him a robe and placed a ring on his finger. He ordered his servants to prepare a feast. “My son was dead and now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found.”

Jesus told this story to show the kind of love God has for his children. When one of God’s children strays away, He always welcomes him with open arms when he returns home. Aren’t you glad that you have a heavenly Father who loves you, even when you may not deserve it? I am! Dear Father, we thank you for your unfailing love. We are thankful that even when we stray, you welcome us home with open arms. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

My Promise to Jesus: Lord, I will find reasons to thank you every day. I am your miracle, your treasure. You lift me up when I fall. You forgive me when I have done wrong. Your arms are always stretched wide open to me.

Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: In what ways do you need to come home to God this Lent?

 

 

Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:

http://scu.edu/character/build-plant-grow/

Mister Bud Wears the Cone

Written by Carter Goodrich

ISBN: 13:978-144248082

Family Discussion:

Hey, that’s not fair!” How many times have we heard this spoken in our family? Family members challenge one another’s generosity, operating from the perspective of limited resources. If we have given to one, perhaps there won’t be enough for the other. Jesus wants us to understand that this is not how it is with God’s mercy and forgiveness. God offers his love to all of us in abundance. The forgiveness of the father in the parable is an image of God’s love for us, generous beyond measure in his love for both of his sons. Can we truly believe that God acts this way towards us and accept his mercy without jealousy, knowing that God’s love for another does not diminish his love for us?

As you gather as a family, talk about the words and phrases you speak to one another when angry. Identify words or phrases that reflect jealousy towards one another. Talk about why we sometimes feel jealousy towards one another. Read aloud today’s Gospel, Luke 15:1-3,11-32. Talk about why the older brother is jealous of the younger brother. Identify words that the family members in the parable might say to one another to begin to heal their broken relationships. Make a family commitment to say these types of words and phrases to one another with greater frequency. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.

 

The Importance of Sunday: Sunday, the “Lord’s day,” is central to our liturgical life. Our observance begins on the Saturday evening before, and all Catholics are obligated to participate in Mass every weekend. There, the “Lord’s Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet” (CCC 1166).

The Church also encourages us to treat Sunday as a day of rest, recreation, and family time as a way of keeping the Third Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day…..keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8-10)

How do you spend Sundays? How can you “keep it holy?”

Family Discussion:

 

 

My Promise to Jesus: Lord, I will find reasons to thank you every day. I am your miracle, your treasure. You lift me up when I fall. You forgive me when I have done wrong. Your arms are always stretched wide open to me.