15 September 2019. Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflection (Sem. Philip Faustino S. Volante)
As part of formation, I always cherish home weekends wherein we are allowed to go home overnight and be with our parents and relatives. In a way, this teaches us to be connected to those who laid foundation in our vocation. This is also a perfect time for us to catch up with our family and friends. But what I love the most during home weekend is the feeling of being welcomed back. The feeling that I have a home to go to and the feeling of being loved. I realized that everything in life may fade, but the only thing that will remain in this world is love. And I felt that love from my family at home.
I remember when I broke the news to my mother about my decision to undergo regency. I came back home around midnight. She was smiling as I brought down my things. She prepared sandwiches for the brothers who had brought me home and talked to them. When we were alone, I told her everything that had happened and what I was feeling. She listened to me as I cried and told me, “May awa ang Diyos.” I will always cherish that night, that feeling of finding solace in the voice of my mother, of going home and finding support from my father, siblings, uncles and aunts amidst a very painful decision. I guess, more than the disappointments, it was love that prevailed over them. I never felt any ill feelings from them. I never felt them judging me. All I felt was their concern and how they could help me go through the regency program. They became my support system and my aid in times of need. That is why, home weekends now have a deeper meaning to me. It is not just an extended free day, but an opportunity to find solace, to feel love in my beautiful family which God has given me, and to return that love to them. God has given me my family as my comfort and refuge. And I feel that the challenge of the Gospel is to become someone else’s comfort and refuge. Just like my family, I have to be a shepherd to the lost sheep, to be that woman looking for the missing coin, and to be that father willing to embrace his prodigal son. I have to be a home to those who are tired and confused and to those who are weary and burned out. I have to be God’s home for people to see and understand that He is truly alive. I feel that this is an invitation to all of us: To be a home, a shelter of love.
In times of difficulty and trials, of being down and beaten, God has provided for us a home to go to. The question is, are you ready to go back home to God?
The Gospel Today
Luke 15: 1 – 32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.
“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”
Then he said,
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then 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.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns,
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”