September 15/16, 2007
24th Sunday Ordinary
Time Cycle C
Ex. 32:7-11, 13-14
Applying the Message of the Prodigal Son to Our Life
Now, lets get a little evangelical here! (Down in the aisle). How many stories are there in the gospel reading? (Wait for some answers).
1. The Parable of The Lost Sheep
2. The Parable of The Lost Coin
3. The Parable of The Prodigal Son (child)
4. The Parable of The Unrelenting and Unforgiving Brother
5. The Parable of The Repentant and Converted Brother
6. The Parable of The Forgiving Parent
7. The Parable of The Reconciling Parent
8. The Parable of The All-Embracing Parent
Pick an unsuspecting male as a farmer and dialogue with him.
Assuming that you live in an area infested with hungry wolves, bears and hyenas somewhere around Saskatoon area, would you in your right frame of mind leave the 99 sheep and go in search of just a single sheep that has gone astray knowing all too well that upon your return the hungry wolves, bears and hyenas would have scattered the sheep or eaten some of them or wounded some of them after you left in search of just a single lost sheep?
Pick an unsuspecting woman and dialogue with her.
Imagine you are a millionaire and you lose one cent, would you KILL yourself looking for that one cent?
Pick an unsuspecting husband and dialogue with him.
If your son defiled your orders and left home, insisting he is 18 and went to live in an unknown place in Greater Vancouver, what would be your immediate reaction? [Expand]
Pick a parent with an 18 year old daughter and dialogue with her.
Assuming your teenage daughter lost herself and became pregnant from the so called out of wedlock, would you consider that grandchild a gift from God to you, or would for fame and pride eject your daughter from your home or would you be as forgiving and welcoming, hospitable and accepting as the father of the prodigal son in todays gospel? [Expand a child as a gift and it does not matter whether a child is born within wedlock or out of wedlock? Expand also that others have spent 1000s of dollars and are still unable to have their own child].
So, why does Jesus tell us this story? What is the essence behind directing this question to us today? How does it apply to our life, living and relationships with God and with our neighbours?
The parable of the Prodigal Son reminds us that our life on earth is characteristically a journey in very many ways, but none more than our salvation; that as we journey on our pilgrimage to eternal salvation God, we often times fall or turn away from God in discouragement and sin. [Expand on how frustration forces us to doubt etc].
The Parable of the Prodigal Son demands our conversion from all that do not contribute to greater intimacy with God and with others. Yes, the road to holiness or becoming spiritual beings as God can be too many with too many choices; they may simply be arduous one, but when we see and admit the misery sin could wrought upon us, we can, like the Prodigal Son, turn our life around and be clothed in Gods grace, in the Fathers embrace, in the Fathers welcoming arms and heart. In the Fathers embrace we enjoy life once again, and are in communion with the father no more slaves or in need of conversion, repentance, extreme misery, deep humiliation or the elusive freedom, but being restored to wholeness.
How does God, through the Parable of the Prodigal Son restore us back unto himself? [Wait for responses].
1. Father running towards the child
2. New clothes
3. A ring meaning reclaiming, re-instatement, a new identity within the family
4. The feast
Again, I ask: If your child disobeyed you and brought disgrace to the family by dealing in drugs, caught and sent to jail and released, would you welcome the child with open arms, or would you reject the child because of the pride to protect your integrity and dignity in society?
If your teenage daughter came home pregnant out of wedlock, how would you react towards her? with love and care, understanding and compassion or you would rather see her a looser and throw her out just to save face?
The three parables in todays gospel indicate that God never gives up on anyone of us. He loves and cares about us as we are. As we participate in this Eucharist, I pray that we cultivate that humility to submit to Gods wisdom in order that we nay discover true freedom and happiness in our life and share this freedom and happiness with all other peoples.
Father John-Baptist Okai