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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 02.03.24

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 02.03.24

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MICAH 7: 14 – 15, 18 – 20

Shepherd your people, [O Lord,] with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt I will show them marvellous things. Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever because he delights in mercy. He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 103: 1 – 2, 3 – 4, 9 – 10, 11 – 12 (R.) 8a.

R/. The Lord is compassionate and gracious.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all within me, his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and never forget all his benefits. R/.

It is the Lord who forgives all your sins,
Who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with mercy and compassion. R/.

He will not always find fault;
nor persist in his anger forever.
He does not treat us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our faults. R/.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so strong his mercy for those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far from us does he remove our transgressions. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Luke 15: 18

Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

GOSPEL
“This your brother was dead, and is alive.”
LUKE 15: 1 – 3, 11 – 32

At that time: The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “There was a man who had two sons.  And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in 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 into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise 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 as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  And 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 servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.  And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’  And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.  It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

The Gospel of the Lord
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Consolation for the Repentant Sinner
March 2, 2024

“Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.” (Luke 15:22–24)

This was the reaction of the faithful son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Recall that after squandering his inheritance, the Prodigal Son returns home humiliated and poor, asking his father if he will take him back and treat him as if he were a hired hand. But the father surprises him and throws a huge party for the son to celebrate his return. But the father’s other son, the one who remained with him throughout the years, would not join in the celebration.

Was it fair that the father killed the fatted calf and threw this large party to celebrate his wayward son’s return? Was it fair that that same father apparently never even gave his faithful son a young goat to feast on with his friends? The right answer is that this is the wrong question.

It’s easy for us to live in such a way that we always want things to be “fair.” And when we perceive that another receives more than us, we can get angry and bitter. But asking whether or not this is fair is not the right question. When it comes to the mercy of God, God’s generosity and goodness far exceed what is perceived as fair. And if we are to share in the abundant mercy of God, we too must learn to rejoice in His superabundant mercy.

In this story, the act of mercy given to his wayward son was exactly what that son needed. He needed to know that no matter what he had done in the past, his father loved him and rejoiced in his return. Therefore, this son needed an abundance of mercy, partly to reassure him of his father’s love. He needed this extra consolation so as to become convinced that he made the right choice in returning.

The other son, the one who had remained faithful throughout the years, was not treated unfairly. Rather, his discontent came from the fact that he himself lacked the same abundant mercy present in the heart of his father. He failed to love his brother to the same extent and, therefore, failed to see the need to offer this consolation to his brother as a way of helping him understand he was forgiven and welcomed back. Mercy is very demanding and far exceeds what we may at first perceive as rational and just. But if we desire to receive mercy in abundance, we must be ready and willing to offer it to those who need it the most.

Reflect, today, upon how merciful and generous you are willing to be, especially toward those who do not appear to deserve it. Remind yourself that the life of grace is not about being fair; it’s about being generous to a shocking extent. Commit yourself to this depth of generosity toward all and look for ways that you can console another’s heart with the mercy of God. If you do, that generous love will also bless your heart in abundance.

PRAYER:
My most generous Lord, You are compassionate beyond what I can fathom. Your mercy and goodness far exceed what any of us deserve. Help me to be eternally grateful for Your goodness and help me to offer that same depth of mercy to those in most need. Jesus, I trust in You.

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