Week of March 10, 2013

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Today we have the familiar parable of the Prodigal Son. It is a good time for me to remind you of our Penance Service tomorrow night, Monday, May 11th, starting at 7:00 p.m. Has it been a while since you have celebrated this sacrament? This parable reminds us of God’s mercy and love celebrated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I encourage you to come to the service tomorrow night.

You will see an announcement in today’s bulletin about our St. Joseph Table on Saturday, March 16th. The proceeds from this dinner and bake sale will go to Lee’s Summit Social Services and the Heifer Project our parish is doing again this Lent. Those organizing this event can use your help. There are signup sheets in the narthex after mass where you can see different ways you can volunteer.

If you haven’t returned your pledge card yet, please return it soon to the parish office.

Below are some excerpts taken from Patricia Sanchez’s reflection on today’s Scripture taken from Celebration.

Jesus chose to associate with people whom the rest of his contemporaries found reprehensible. Today, we are used to this notion, and we tend to “romanticize” his behavior. In his own time, however, it was shocking and offensive. Jesus’ manner was so off-putting that many people could not move beyond their repulsion to hear and accept his message. In a word, he was a rule-breaker, an iconoclast, and those who would follow him with integrity must be the same.

According to the rule of the day, associating with known sinners of the sick or the unclean rendered a person ritually unclean and therefore unfit to participate in communal rituals, like liturgy, common meals or conversations. Fully aware of this rule, Jesus purposely moved among people others shunned. He ate with them. He talked with them. He touched them and welcomed them to be with him.

…If the father featured in today’s Gospel had followed the rules and the law of his day, he would have held no obligation to the son who demanded and then squandered his inheritance. He could have closed his door and his heart, and no one would have faulted him for his actions. But like God, whom the father represents, he was not driven by rules but by love. The father’s love and forgiveness were far, far greater than the grievousness of his son’s wrongdoing.

Like the father, like God, Jesus eschewed the “rules” that would have condemned and alienated sinners. Jesus example challenges each of us to examine the rules by which we live and to consider whether these are in accord with the truth of the Gospel.

For example, there is a rule that permits a mother to end the life of an unborn child. There is also a rule that allows a government to hunt down, arrest, imprison and deport undocumented workers, thereby separating parents from their children and spouses from one another. In some states and nations, the rule permits capital punishment as well as incarceration without rehabilitation. Using the euphemism “death with dignity,” some have voted into law the option of taking their own life. When these options are set into motion, those who take them excuse their choices with the fact that their actions are legal; they have broken no rules. But if these rules were held up to the truth of the Gospel, how might they fare?

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