THE PRODIGAL SON, A FATHER’S LOVE AND MERCY – ST. JOHN PAUL AND FATIMA

My reunion last evening with my former students of the Academy of the Holy Names was one of the most beautiful, moving, memorable evenings of my life! I intended to bring you that story today, along with some photos, but a technical issue (having to unwrap the enigma of an unknown password to access Internet) interfered with that and all I have been able to do was download the photos, so stay tuned tomorrow for a remarkable story!

In the meantime I have a golden nugget for you: I saw this in a novel I just finished reading and emailed it myself as I thought it was expressed a basic truth to extraordinarily well. The original author is Miles Kington – a British journalist, musician and broadcaster.

“Knowledge is knowing tomatoes are fruit but wisdom means not putting them in fruit salad”

THE PRODIGAL SON, A FATHER’S LOVE AND MERCY

(Vatican Radio) At his Wednesday general audience Pope Francis focused on the parable of the prodigal son to show how God welcomes us all with an unconditional love. Even in the most difficult situations, he told pilgrims and visitors gathered in St Peter’s Square, God waits for us and longs to embrace us.

 
Pope Francis began his reflections at the moment the prodigal son returns home, asking forgiveness for what he has done and telling his father: “I no longer deserve to be called your son”. But on the contrary, he continued, the only thing that matters to the father is that his son has returned home safe and sound. Thus he runs out to embrace him, restores his dignity by giving him clothes, sandals and a ring on his finger, and calls for a feast to celebrate his return.

 
The Pope said the father’s tenderness and mercy overflows and, in the same way, we know that even in the most difficult moments of our lives, God waits for us and longs to embrace us as his children. Jesus’ words, he went on, can encourage parents who worry about their children becoming alienated and tempted by all kinds of dangers. They can help priests and catechists who wonder if their work is all in vain. They can even help those in prison, or those who’ve made mistakes and are unable to see any future for themselves.

 
The Pope went on to explain how this parable talks about both the prodigal son and his older brother, who also needs to learn to accept the father’s mercy. Though he has remained at home with his father, his words display no tenderness or thought for anyone but himself. How sad for the father, the Pope exclaimed, with one son who went away and the other who was never really close to him!

 
Both the younger son, who is expecting to be punished, and the older son, who expects a reward for his good behavior, are not acting according to God’s love, which transcends both reward and punishment, the Pope said.
The two brothers do not speak to each other, they live different lives, but neither of them lives according to the logic of Our Lord. Their logic is overturned by the words of the father, “let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found”.

 

The greatest joy for the father, the Pope stressed, is to see his two sons reunited and recognizing each other as brothers.

 

Pope Francis noted that this parable ends without our knowing how the older brother responds to the father’s invitation to celebrate his brother’s return. Jesus is challenging each one of us, he said, to think about how we respond to God’s invitation, to open our hearts to his reconciling love and to become “merciful like the Father”.

ST. JOHN PAUL AND FATIMA

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said Our Lady of Fatima “invites us once again to turn to prayer, penance, and conversion.”
The Holy Father noted the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is commemorated this year on this Friday (13 May) during his remarks to Polish-speaking pilgrims at his General Audience.

 
“She asks us to never offend God again. She forewarns all humanity about the necessity of abandoning oneself to God, the source of love and mercy,” Pope Francis said.

 
“Following the example of St. John Paul II, a great devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, let us listen attentively to the Mother of God and ask for peace for the world,” – he continued – “Praised be Jesus Christ!”

 
Thirty-five years ago, Pope St. John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Ağca during the General Audience, which took place on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981.

 

The saint attributed his survival to Our Lady, and gave one of the bullets used in the attack to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. The bullet was placed in the crown of the statue of the Virgin Mary which is housed at the shrine.

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