A classic Charles Schulz “Peanuts” cartoon gives us a lesson in forgiveness. The cartoon opens with Lucy chasing after Charlie Brown shaking her fist at him. “I’m going to get you, Charlie Brown,” she cries.
Charlie Brown comes to a sudden halt and calmly turns to face her. “Lucy, if we don’t forgive each other as children, how will our parents learn to forgive each other? And how in turn will the world learn to forgive?” Exasperated by his question, Lucy hauls off and punches poor Charlie in the face. In the last frame, Lucy turns and looks out at the readers. “I had to,” she explains. “He was beginning to make sense.”
During this season of fasting, prayer, penance and special attentiveness to the poor, we are shown mercy as we remember the extent of God’s love revealed to us in Jesus. One of the ways that Jesus taught us about God’s love was by telling us stories (parables). Today we hear the beloved parable of the prodigal son. It is a parable that invites us to find ourselves in the text. With whom do we identify at this time in our life?
Are you the wayward son, whose dreams of a good, happy and wealthy life evaporated in a pigsty in a foreign land? Now returned home in shame and sorrow, he is disheveled, kneeling before his father. He knows he has dishonored his father and himself. He knows he does not deserve it, but he relies on the goodness of his father and surrenders himself to his love and mercy.
Or perhaps you see yourself in the dutiful but resentful elder son? His anger makes him bitter; he refuses to rejoice or share in the celebration because he doesn’t understand his father’s love.
Do any of us see ourselves in the father? Any parent can sympathize with this generous man whose child’s actions hurt him, even cut to the quick of who he was. We can sympathize – but can we be as welcoming and forgiving? This is the challenge put before each of us today and every day.
Whether you are the younger son or the elder son, you have to realize that you are called to become the father.” And so are we all. Does that make sense to you? (Taken from Celebration)
I recently heard that Fr. Ronald Rolheiser is going to be in Kansas City this week. He is the author of Sacred Fire, named Book of the Year and Best Book in Spirituality in 2015. His latest book is The Passion and the Cross. He will be at St. Thomas More Parish on Saturday, March 12th, 9 am – 3 pm. His topic is “Seasons of our Lives”, describing three stages of discipleship on our journey toward life and toward death. St. Thomas More is located on 11822 Holmes Rd., Kansas City, Mo. 64131. For more information and to register online, visit
On Saturday, March 19th, we will have a Work Day at the parish. The work day begins at 8 am and usually ends around Noon. If you can help with all of the day or part of the day, it will be greatly appreciated.