Mercy. Forgiveness. Steadfast Love. Today’s readings send a message loud & clear—a message of a Loving God waiting for us, with open arms, to return. For me, Lent has always been a time of facing the darkness inside myself, taking a good hard look at the many, MANY ways I fail and turn away from God. While it is uncomfortable and humbling, I look forward to the time the Church sets aside for us to spend our time in the desert, to really work at being who we are called to be. I need the reminder to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to spend more time in prayer, to come before Jesus as I am and sit in awe of the One who loves me.
Yet, I want to hide; I find comfort in the busyness and muck of my everyday life. Making time to be still seems less important and as the days of Lent fly by I find myself saying, “Next week. Tomorrow. There’s time.” I am a contradiction. I long for what Lent invites me to, yet I still fail. We are all invited to come home.
Years ago, as I was working with a group of children preparing for their first Sacraments of Reconciliation & Eucharist, we were reading today’s Gospel—but it was introduced as the story of “The Forgiving Father” (as opposed to the way I had always known the story of “The Prodigal Son”). The focus was not on the failings of the son. The emphasis was how Loving & Forgiving the Father is. Maybe Lent isn’t really so much about our failings, but rather our longing to be with the Forgiving Father who waits for us. We are called to draw near to the Jesus who loves us in a way we will never truly grasp. Fr. Mike Cronogue, a man who embodied God’s love & mercy in my life often said to me, “God loves you in the striving.” It seems too simplistic, but what if it really is that “easy?” So let us strive. Let us take this time to be still enough to just be loved.
Jesus, help us to make time in our lives to just BE in Your presence. Give us resolve to answer Your call, to come running to You and let ourselves experience the fullness of the love You offer us. Amen.
Meeghan Bird Matarazzo, ’97, Member of the Worshipping Community
First Reading: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website