Jesus tells the Pharisees and scribes three powerful parables that will convey the essence of his ministry. Each parable (The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son) will follow the same pattern: a loss, searching, finding, and rejoicing. What is so striking about these parables is the extraordinary extent an individual will take to find what is lost. The Lost Sheep is one of one hundred sheep, yet the shepherd sees each one as important and seeks out the lost. The woman has lost one of her ten coins and takes great effort to find the one that is missing. The father of the lost son waits for his son’s return and when he comes back rejoices upon his coming home.
These stories would strike the Pharisees and scribes as somewhat odd. Their strict observance of the law would probably question why go to such extreme length to find the lost. If a person squanders his inheritance does he not disserve what his actions have produced. The Prodigal Son is not being enabled at all by his father. The father lets him go freely on his own. The son realizes his mistakes in life and finally returns not knowing what to expect from his family. His father not only welcomes him back into the fold of the family but has a celebration for him. What was thought to be lost is now found.
The clear expression of mercy is powerful. The Pharisees and scribes like many of us see the father accepting his son back as troublesome. Why does he deserve such fanfare after living so frivolously with money he did not earn? God’s mercy is beyond compare. It would be easy for the Pharisees and scribes to sit and listen to this parable and see the injustice. How do we react when we see such overwhelming generosity? Could this story and others like it call us back to be more repentant, ready to be received by this mercy. Or, do we remain in the background despondent and question why mercy is given so freely to others. I know this line well and have seen it in others and at times in my own life, “God is never outdone in generosity.” His mercy endures forever!
This past week we hosted the District meeting for all the Catholic Parish Staffs in Lake and Geauga counties. This is a time we get together to talk about what is happening in this part of the diocese and what events are coming up in the diocese that will influence our District. Many of you may know that Gina Rensi, our Director of Religious Education, is the chairperson for the Lake-Geauga District. Her responsibilities will be to lead the meetings that will take place throughout the school year. She has the assistance of our District Agenda Committee and the help of Mrs. Rachel Scott a member of our parish.
This past Saturday morning I began my role as Spiritual Director for those in formation in the Permanent Diaconate Program. This responsibility will include Saturday Mass before their classes in the morning, helping with the retreats and days of reflection, and general support to those who are training to be deacons in our diocesan parishes.
Today we celebrate Catechetical Sunday. This marks the beginning of the religious education school year. We will bless those who have stepped forward to become teachers in our various education programs. I am most grateful for what these individuals do for us. Religious education is important to help form our young people and needed for our adults to continue learning about our faith. The hope is to create in each individual better grounding to grow in their relationship with the Lord.
Our RCIA program will begin shortly and our hope is to reach those inquiring about our Catholic Christian faith. If you or someone you know wants to enter the Church or is seeking answers to becoming Catholic this is the process you want. Call the parish office or catch me after Mass and let me know.
The Lake-Geauga Ministry Discipleship Conference will be Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 8:30AM – 1:30PM at St. Mary in Chardon, Ohio. We have forms in the Gathering Area for registration. Anyone who would like to attend please fill out the registration form and drop them at the parish office or in the collection on Sunday.
We have plenty to think about after hearing and reflecting on these powerful parables. I hope that God’s Word stays everlasting in your hearts. Have a great week and remember to nourish your soul with prayer and worship. Have a great week.