Monday, March 11, 2013


Joshua 5:9,10-12; Ps 34 Taste and see the goodness of the Lord; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3,11-32
First a quote from Jesus.  It is always good to begin a quote from some famous person known for wisdom and wit.  It is even better to begin with one from Christ himself:

"He who sees me sees the Father."

Invite you to go to John ch 14 and see and experience the context in which this statement is made. It falls under the last supper discourses of Jesus.  The statement is a response to one of the apostles (Philip) exclamatory statement, "Show us the Father and that will be a enough for us."

Secondly, ponder this question: 'Does God love Satan as much as he loves the BlessedVirgin MAry?'

As we read or listen to the story of the Prodigal Son, as the story is so titled, we encounter three characters: son 1 who squanders all he has been given, son 2 who feels entitled and thus is angry and despises his father's generosity, and the father (generous and giving, never judging nor condemning, fully of mercy and forgiveness) yet he seems a bit imprudent with everything.

Let's look at the father's house as related to us in the story.  Let's look at the father's interaction toward both sons.  IT seems at first glance the father is a bit strange.

Son 1 comes demanding his share that he would be owed when his father died.  In some respect the son is wishing the father dead by demanding his inheritance.  Most dad's would probably come unglued as they say, but not this father.  He simply "divided his living between them."

Not only does he not cut off his allowance after such an insult, he doesn't even try to reason with him.
He lets himself be plundered by the boy with out so much of a murmur of protest.

Now we turn son 2.  The older son is feeling a bit entitled, upset, and unappreciated.  He is having his own moment not unlike his brother.  When he refuses to join in the celebration, the feast, the eating of the fatted calf, it is the father who comes out to beg him to reconsider, with no threats, no warnings, no irate exhibit of anger or frustration, just a simple humble request, "my son you are here with me always; everything I have is yours, but now we must celebrate and rejoice..."

This is a strange household indeed. It is certainly a far cry of many households across the land and definitely a far cry from the so called "father" figures many of us were exposed to in our life.

Initially we read the story and we begin to think, "when is this father going to finally stand up for his rights" or "when is this father going to lay down the law" or "when will the father say I command you."

What a strange father who doesn't even seem to give a thought to his own dignity and who doesn't exercise his authority as a persuasive tool.

Looking at the father as he deals with his sons we discover a truth: love if it is love requires and demands freedom.  No living being can be forced to love as no one can be loved by force.

Freedom is the condition of love and love is the endless renewing of freedom.  Love always runs the great risk of freedom: the ability to accept or refuse, to be received or denied, to say yes or to say no.  Love is demanding but it can never be demanded

Like the sons in the story God gives us freedom and he offers his love to us daily: we can refuse him, haggle with him, deny him, or finally come back to him, but he will never take that freedom away.  He will always let us suffer with the consequences of our decision.  He will suffer right along with us, always with the invitation to change before us daily.

Does God love Satan as much as he loves the Blessed Virgin Mary, yes, of course, God is love.
The difference isn't the love offered by God but rather the response to the love by one to whom the offer is given.  Satan's response creates hell.  Mary's response brings heaven to earth.
Where does our response fit in?  This season of Lent, with prayer, fasting, almsgiving, is meant not so much to earn God's love but to make us more readily disposed to respond more generously to the love that is offered.  We are to purify our response.

This is why Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them.  He simply is revealing the Father to us.  He is showing us what it looks like to offer love freely without strings attached.

He who sees him sees the Father.

Only when we watch Christ can can truly begin to understand the breadth, height, depth, and length of love and can we become true ambassadors of Christ offering reconciliation to those around us.

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