Sunday, February 28, 2016


The Prodigal Son is so-called not because he wandered from the path of righteousness, but rather because he foolishly squandered his inheritance--the good gifts God has bestowed upon us all.    (According to Webster's, the word means "wastefully or recklessly extravagant").  Life itself is the greatest gift of God, given that we might glorify Him, offering up as a pure sacrifice all that we are--both soul and body--as a pure sacrifice. 

As St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."  And so--contrary to what the pro-choice advocates proclaim--we do not have the right to our own body, let alone to the life of the child growing within the womb.  Both belong to God.  Strictly speaking, we own nothing whatsoever--not even our own bodies.  And surely whatever wealth and talents we may seem to possess are given by God... we are but His stewards.  Rightly, then, does the elder brother complain to his father that the Prodigal has "devoured thy living with harlots."

But surely we have all wandered into a far country (fled from the presence of God); we have joined ourselves to harlots... if not literally, then to the sinful passions and the idols we have created for ourselves; we have suffered a spiritual famine and sought to feed ourselves on swinish thoughts and desires--though the more we indulge ourselves, the less satisfaction we receive.  As St. Augustine has written, "Our hearts are ever restless till they find their rest in thee."  But have we as well followed the Prodigal's example and taken that ultimate step of humble repentance--confessing that we are unworthy of the Father's love, yet beseeching Him to receive us as his hired servant?

For truly God's love is boundless and unconditional... He does not desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he should return to Him and live.  And then--while we are still afar off--He will run to us and embrace us, restoring to us the tokens of our rightful inheritance, and opening unto us the gates of Paradise... that we might be made worthy of eternal life in His Kingdom.

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