Saturday of the Second Week

A sculpture in stone of the father tenderly hugging the son

Daily Offering

Jesus, help me to slow down and reach out to others today.   Stephen Noon SJ

Entering into prayer

Choose a method of entering into prayer that you are comfortable with, or if the mood takes you, try something different. If you’re finding it difficult, talk to God about the things on your mind.

Today's Scripture (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)
Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.’ ” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.

‘Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.” Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!” Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.” ’

Food for Thought

In his parable about the father who had two sons, Jesus gave a portrait of this God of faithfulness and mercy. The father was watching out for his unfaithful son; he ran to greet him; he refused to allow him to complete his speech of repentance. Instead he rewarded him with a robe, a ring and sandals, and put on a lavish banquet as well. But his other son had been far too busy in the fields to watch out for his brother, so the father had to go off in search of him, and when he found him, was treated more like an employer than a father. This elder son had to be cajoled to return to the family to which he belonged. We still do not know whether he went into the banquet and shared its joy.

Suggestions for Prayer

Lent invites us to check out how we view God and sin. Do you repent like the younger brother, or by a spontaneous sympathy for the elder, do we resist the appeal of the father to take our place at the banquet of the kingdom and to share in the joy of the Father? Take a few moments to become still and quiet and ask God to work through your imagination as you pray with the passage about the Prodigal Son. Ask God for what you want, perhaps “To know you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly”. Read through the text two or three times until you are thoroughly familiar with the story. Then let the scene gradually build up in your mind’s eye. Take your time, see everything that is around, maybe hear the celebrations or sounds of people working in the fields, feel the dust beneath your feet, smell the fattened calf being cooked, or taste the husks. From what angle are you watching the scene in your mind’s eye?

Take your own place in the unfolding scene.You may start as a bystander, or one of the central characters, or simply enter into the action as yourself. Let yourself be drawn naturally into conversation with one or other of the participants, or with Jesus after the story has finished. Stay in the scene for as long as you have chosen to, and then draw the prayer to a close.

How are you going to respond today?

Knowing all the love that God has you, despite everything you have done, is there someone in your life who has disappointed you? Can you forgive them and reach out to them? Perhaps you, like the older brother, feel resentment that another person is unjustly favoured. Can you let go of feelings of bitterness and resentment and learn to be loving and merciful like the Lord?

Image for the Day

Sculpture of the father embracing the son

  • How does this image make you feel?

  • Spend some time imagining the loving father’s embrace today.

Examen (Review of Prayer)

Try the Lent Examen

When you come towards the end of your time of prayer, or at the end of your day, talk to God about what has come up for you, what went well and what didn’t. End with a formal prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.

Going Deeper

Read more about the Prodigal Son