Through our sins, we are like the son who takes everything and leaves. But God will always gladly take us back. He gives us everything and we take. We have to suffer in order to know just what we have. We have to swallow our pride and ask for forgiveness. This is where the Sacrament of Reconciliation comes in. There was a time when I didn’t think I needed to go to confession; I thought I could just confess my sins to God and be done with it. As Catholics, God gave us this beautiful Sacrament so that we could fully feel his forgiveness. It’s so much easier to just say in your head (or even out loud), “Oops. Sorry, God. I sinned. I know I shouldn’t have done that & I’ll try not to do it again.” BUT, how hard is it to sit face to face with another human being and tell them that you’re not perfect, that you’ve sinned and you’ve done things of which you’re ashamed? God allows us to humble ourselves before him and the priest by making a good confession. No matter what we’ve done or haven’t done, God is always there, ready and willing to take us back. Even for those of us who left the Church for a while, he is standing there with open arms. He is ready to give us more than he already has. We just have to be willing to take it.
One of the reflections I read spoke of happiness. The son who stayed and obeyed his father wasn’t happy. He would never be happy until he forgave his brother for leaving and coming back. He obviously wasn’t a parent, or else he would understand the joy his father felt when his brother came back. Bishop Robert Barron said, “When we fall out of love for God, we fall into hatred of one another.” How often do I feel this? During my “dry prayer periods”, I can definitely tell how intolerant I am of so many people; so many things. Yet, when I take time out of the day to read, reflect, and pray, my days go so much better and I’m so much more patient at work and at home.
Pope Francis said, “God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to Him.” It does take courage to come back. The son who came back had to swallow his pride and find courage to go back to his father. He had no idea how he was going to be received. He probably expected to be treated like his brother treated him. How relieved he must have been when his father welcomed him with open arms!
If you’re a parent of grown children, you can probably relate to the father. I know I can. When one of your children goes out on his own, it’s hard for him to ask for help, and there are definitely times when we all need help! When my husband and I were just starting out, we had to ask our parents for help. Sometimes it was over stupid things that I did, like spending too much on Christmas and then needing some extra help with daycare the next month. It’s very hard to swallow our pride and ask for that help. It’s in humbling ourselves and receiving help that we become stronger and more compassionate.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a lot of the Homily. Since I play flute during Mass, I sit with the choir, which was to the Priest’s back today. We had one of our former pastors celebrate the Mass this morning, and he chose to stand at the front of the altar to give the Homily. He is a little difficult to understand anyway due to him being a bit soft-spoken; so with his back to us it was very difficult to hear him. I wrote down 2 things in my Mass Journal: We are called to change to the light of God and Our joy in life comes from Reconciliation. I must have been meant to hear that last statement loud and clear, because when he said that, he actually looked over toward the choir when he said it.
“Our joy in life comes from Reconciliation.” Amen, Father…Amen! By humbling ourselves we will find joy. How wonderful it is that, as Catholics, we are able to truly humble ourselves by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and find joy!
How was your Homily today? I'd love to hear how it was different or the same!