In the Gospel this weekend we hear the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son. This parable, in a marvelous way, reveals to us the gentle and merciful love of our Heavenly Father. Our Father in Heaven loves each of us with an ineffable and tender love. So much does He love us that ‘He sent His only Son that whoever might believe in Him would have eternal life.’ (John 3:16). The love of our Father is manifested in His offer of mercy (the offer of forgiveness of our sins). Our Father offers us His all-encompassing mercy and love through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus has chosen to share the Divine Mercy with us through His Sacred Heart and His Church united to Him, particularly through the Sacraments. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to open our hearts and lead us to conversion to the Divine Will. Conversion continues the interior process of acceptance of God’s forgiveness and the action of the Divine Mercy in our hearts.
Our Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it in these words:
“”The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners.” (cf. Luke 15) The angel announced to Joseph: "You shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”. (Matthew 1:21) The same is true of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Redemption: “This is My Blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
“God created us without us: but He did not will to save us without us.” (St. Augustine) To receive His mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 8-9)
As St. Paul affirms, "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20) But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us "righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21) Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by His Word and by His Spirit, casts a living light on sin:
Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ Thus in this ‘convincing concerning sin’ we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of Truth is the Consoler.” (St. John Paul II, Dominum et vivificantem 31:2) (CCC 1846-1848)
Like with the Prodigal Son, our Father patiently waits for us to open our hearts to reflect upon ourselves and come to know ourselves. Jesus teaches us in this parable that it is through grace and self-reflection that we can come to ask our Father for His forgiveness.
The path of receiving forgiveness from our Heavenly Father will always include Jesus. Here is what Jesus said to St. Faustina in the Diary of Divine Mercy: "Proclaim that Mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with Mercy." (Diary, 301) "My daughter, speak to priests about this inconceivable Mercy of Mine. The flames of Mercy are burning Me - clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don't want to believe in My goodness." (Diary, 177) "My Love and Mercy knows no bounds." (Diary, 718) “Tell the whole world about My Mercy and My Love. The flames of Mercy are burning Me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them! My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My Mercy. I will make up for what you lack. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My Merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace. Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.” (Diary, 1074)
My brothers and sisters, let us imitate the Prodigal Son! Let us reflect upon ourselves and our need to be forgiven by our Lord and to forgive others! Let us, like the Prodigal Son, heed the invitation to receive Divine Mercy by approaching Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession and personal prayer; and through Jesus, go to our Father to find Divine Mercy!
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Mercy, St. Joseph, St. Paul and St. Michael, may the Most Holy Trinity bless us with the grace to seek and receive His infinite and inconceivable Divine Mercy!
In Christ through Mary,
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