2nd Week of Lent, Saturday, 23-03-19

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 / Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Jesus teaches about forgiveness
 “A man had two sons ...”
This parable contains two remarkable things. The first is the son’s demand for his inheritance. To demand one’s inheritance before the death of one’s parents was cruel.

It was to rob them of their “social security.” The second is the father’s welcome of his son. He embraces him, withholding no affection. He puts shoes on his son’s feet. Freemen wore shoes; slaves went barefooted. Shoes removed from the son the sign that he was somebody’s slave and restored to him the sign that he was somebody’s son.
Finally, the father puts a ring on his son’s finger. It was undoubtedly the family’s signet ring. To possess it was to possess the power to act in the family’s name. In brief, the father forgives his son totally.
How forgiving are we of those who have sinned against us?
“Mercy imitates God and disappoints Satan.” John Chyrsostom (ML)
Based on anecdotal evidence, we can say that there is a black sheep in every family.

Usually that is referred to one of the children. That particular child is always out of step with the rest and seems to be marching to a different tune.

That 'black sheep' is the bane and the burden of parents.

Some parents will resort to renouncement of the relationship with that child, others will resort to punishment which may actually be just a way of venting out their frustrations on the child.

In today's gospel parable, we hear of yet another way of dealing with the 'black sheep'.

The father gave in to his younger son's request, but yet further on in the parable, we hear of the father waiting and looking out for him to return.

What made the son came to his senses was that he recalled how kindly his father treated his servants. That was enough for him to get moving.

No matter how far a person has gone over to the dark and destructive side, the memories of love and kindness and goodness can never be erased from him.

It is these memories that will make a person come to his senses and bring him back to the light.

So when we come across the odd one, the black sheep, the sinner, let us be the reflection of God's love to that person.

The 1st reading describes God taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy.

Let us be that image of God for others to help them come to their senses and return to God. (SY)