THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Friday of the First Week of Lent, February 27th, 2015
Liturgical texts here
WHEN Jesus told the parable of the “prodigal son”, cf. Luke 15:11-32 I believe He was also giving a prophetic vision of the end times. That is, a picture of how the the world would be welcomed into the Father’s house through Christ’s Sacrifice… but eventually reject Him again. That we would take our inheritance, that is, our free will, and over the centuries blow it on the kind of unbridled paganism we have today. Technology is the new golden calf.
The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil. The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general. If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other “lights”, that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Easter Vigil Homily, April 7th, 2012 (emphasis mine)
What we see unfold in the parable is not the prodigal’s father punishing his son, but the son bringing down upon himself the consequences of his rebellion. For the son takes evil as good, and good as evil. The further he goes down the path of his revolution, the deeper his blindness, the more wretched his true condition.
Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard, the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 58
In all of this, we learn that the father was not waiting to strike down his son… rather he waited and longed for his return. As it says in today’s first reading:
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?
Just as the son must exhaust himself in evil, so too will this generation. But it is precisely in that moment of desolation where I believe God is going to grant the world a “last chance” to return to Him. Many of the saints and mystics have called it a “warning” or “illumination” cf. Revelation Illumination where everyone on earth will see their souls in the light of truth, as in Rev 6:12-17 cf. Seven Seals of Revolution—just as the prodigal son had an illumination of his conscience. cf. Luke 15:17-19 In that moment, we will face the music:
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? (First reading)
In God’s mercy, I believe He will grant us the opportunity to choose His way… the way Home. cf. After the Illumination For this grace for the world, let us continue to offer our Lenten sacrifice.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. (Today’s Psalm)
I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy…. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n.1588, 699
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