Monday, September 9, 2019

Sept. 15, 2019 Our Merciful Lord

Reading I:  
Exodus 12: 7-11,11, 13-14

Psalm:  51

Reading II:  1 Timothy 1:12-17

Luke 15:1-32

In today’s Gospel we hear three parables about God’s great mercy.  They illustrate three special characteristics of that mercy in each of the parables. God’s love is personal, constant, and emotional.

First, we become aware that God’s merciful love is extended to each person as if he or she were the only person in the world. His relationship with each of us is unique. He would have given His life and suffering for the salvation of each of us even if the individual were the only person in need of redemption.

In each parable we find an intense search happening. In each of these instances, the love of the one being sought remains constant. In the “Parable of the Lost Sheep,” we see the shepherd leaving the 99 behind and searching through difficult and dangerous places until he finds the lost sheep. 

In the “Parable of the Lost Coin,” the woman forgets about everything else and devotes herself to searching for the lost coin. It must have been very important and valuable to her. It could have been all she had left on which to live.

In the “Parable of the Prodigal Son,” the loving father watches constantly for the return of his son.  As soon as he gets a glimpse of him from far off, he runs to embrace him and welcome him home.

Finally, there is joy expressed in the shepherd carrying the sheep home to rejoin the rest of the flock.  We often see the illustration of the shepherd with the sheep on his shoulders. He doesn’t make the sheep walk through the bushes or climb the rocky mountain slopes. He carries him home, although he might be exhausted himself.

The father of the prodigal son is so happy that he prepares a great feast to celebrate the son’s return. There is no mention of the hurt that the father experienced in the way he was treated by the son. There is only rejoicing that he has returned.

Similar themes are found in a poem by Francis Thompson:

The Hound of Heaven 

I fled Him down the nights and down the days, I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears

I hid from him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasmed fears
From those strong feet that followed, followed after But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat, and a Voice beat,
More instant than the feet:
All things betray thee who betrayest me.
I pleaded, outlaw--wise by many a hearted casement, curtained red, trellised with inter-twining charities, For though I knew His love who followed,
Yet was I sore adread, lest having Him,

I should have nought beside.
But if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of his approach would clash it to. Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

This is just a taste of the poem. You might like to read the whole poem sometime.

 Reflection Question:   What is one aspect of God’s love which touches you deeply?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Nuestro Misericordioso Señor

En el Evangelio de hoy escuchamos tres parábolas sobre La gran misericordia de Dios. Ilustran tres características especiales de esa misericordia en cada una de las parábolas. El amor de Dios es personal, constante y emocional.  

Primero, nos damos cuenta de que el amor misericordioso de Dios se extiende a cada persona como si fuera la única persona en el mundo. Su relación con cada uno de nosotros es única. Hubiera dado su vida y sufrimiento por la salvación de cada uno de nosotros, incluso si el individuo fuera la única persona en necesidad de redención.

En cada parábola encontramos una búsqueda intensa sucediendo. En cada uno de estos casos, el amor del que se busca permanece constante. En la “Parábola de las Ovejas Perdidas,” vemos al pastor dejando atrás al 99 y buscando en lugares difíciles y peligrosos hasta que encuentra la oveja perdida.

En la “Parábola de la Moneda Perdida,” la mujer se olvida de todo lo demás y se dedica a buscar la moneda perdida. Debe haber sido muy importante y valioso para ella. Podría haber sido todo lo que le quedaba para vivir.

En la “Parábola del Hijo Pródigo,” el padre amoroso observa constantemente el regreso de su hijo. Tan pronto como lo ve desde lejos, corre a abrazarlo y darle la bienvenida a casa.

Finalmente, hay alegría expresada en el pastor que lleva a las ovejas a casa para reunirse con el resto del rebaño. A menudo vemos la ilustración del pastor con las ovejas sobre sus hombros. No hace que las ovejas caminen a través de los arbustos o escalen las laderas de las montañas rocosas. Lo lleva a casa, aunque él mismo podría estar exhausto.

El padre del hijo pródigo está tan feliz que prepara una gran fiesta para celebrar el regreso del hijo. No se menciona el dolor que experimentó el padre en la forma en que fue tratado por el hijo. Solo hay regocijo de que haya regresado.

Temas similares se encuentran en un poema de Francisco Thompson:

El Sabueso del Cielo

Lo huí por las noches y los días, lo huí por los arcos de los años.
Lo huí por los caminos laberínticos
De mi propia mente, y en medio de las lágrimas.
Me escondí de él y bajo la risa.
Hasta las esperanzas vistas que aceleré y disparé precipitada
Adopta las tinieblas titánicas de los miedos abatidos
De esos pies fuertes que siguieron, siguieron después Pero con persecución sin prisas y ritmo imperturbable, velocidad deliberada, instancia majestuosa,
Golpearon, y un latido de voz,
Más instantáneo que los pies:
Todas las cosas te traicionan, quien me traiciona.
Supliqué, fuera de la ley, sabio por parte de muchas personas de corazón, con cortinas rojas, enredadas con obras de caridad entrelazadas, porque aunque conocía su amor que lo seguía,
Sin embargo, ¿estaba adolorido por temor a tenerlo?
No debería haber hecho nada al lado.
Pero si una pequeña ventana se abriera por completo,

La ráfaga de su enfoque lo enfrentaría. El miedo no debe evadirse como el amor persigue.

Esto es solo una muestra del poema. Puede que quieras leer el poema completo alguna vez.

  Pregunta de Refelexíon:    ¿Cuál es un aspecto del amor de Dios que te conmueve profundamente?

Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita

Mother Katharine urged the Sisters to: “Let your heart delight in the love God has for you, personally, individually.” God loves us whether we are like the wayward younger sibling or the dutiful but resentful older sibling. He knows our foibles, our strengths, our hesitations and our hopes. God loves us during our good days and our other days. He hopes that we will come to Him, to try to be the gifted person He created us to be.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
A couple of weeks ago, a 16-year-old boy was shot on my block. He collapsed within a few feet of his home, which is a few doors down from me. An investigation revealed that prior to the shooting, this boy robbed three individual people at gun-point two blocks up the street. His third victim had a gun and chased the boy until he was within shooting range. The teen is in critical condition. You can imagine the stories, opinions and judgments that neighbors expressed, as this is yet another incidence of increasing violence in the neighborhood. Yet, I cannot help but think that this boy must have been terribly confused or desperate to make such a poor decision. I feel compassion rather than anger because his behavior may have been a cry for love. What really engages me is the fact that in spite of his criminal behavior he was running toward home. In response to your question about God’s love, I am touched most deeply by the constancy of God’s love. When I think back over all the mistakes I made and all the complex motives which I used to justify them I cringe. I sinned many times with intention. While I didn’t bear arms, I certainly wounded my relationship with God and held myself victim to fear and thoughts of rejection. Once I realized the shallowness of my decisions I humbly headed “Home” where I experienced the mercy and unconditional love of God. The ”Welcome Home” experience touched my heart so deeply that I began to understand the grace that comes from repentance. My soul encountered the immense love of God and I found myself transformed into a witness of this love. I pray that my young neighbor recovers from his injury and that he will receive the love and support he will need to confess, repent and experience the mercy of God that will forever change his life.

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