Wednesday, March 27, 2019

TASTE the Fattened Calf! (Bible Study Recap)


Wow! Many thanks to Father Michael Warren et al for helping tonight's Bible Study be a SMASH!

God be praised! Last Saturday at Mass, Father Michael preached on the Gospel — the same one we're privileged to hear this Sunday! Only appearing in Luke, this Sunday we hear what is probably Jesus' most famous parable. Popularly called "The Prodigal Son,"  others have suggested alternative "titles," such as  "The Merciful Father,"  "The Two Sons" (Cardinal Ratzinger), and "The Lost Son,"  (Brant Pitre).

But let's concentrate on that "fattened calf" that the father (Father) had killed to celebrate his son.

Here's what I learned from Father Michael's homily last Saturday:

In Jesus' time, only the very best calf was kept in the barn, while the others were sent off to pasture. This calf was fed on only the best…in fact, by the same food the people of the house feasted on. What's more? Kids were encouraged to give the calf treats of their own…anything to A) make the calf happy but more importantly B) to fatten that calf up with scrumptious stuff and make him the most delectable thing ever eaten. Why? Because "the fattened calf" was to be saved only for the time an amazingly delicious feast would be held…for the visit of some REALLY important dignitary! Like, you know, the President or somebody!

Now, imagine this kid — the older brother — dutifully and probably joyfully trotting off, since childhood, to the barn…oh, I don't know, maybe on his way to school and then as he got older to his chores? You know what I mean. Everyone did it…and wondered with each delectable thing they gave they calf, who would be the next VIP to grace their fattened-calf table? I mean, gee…it could've been, if The Donald wasn't available, Mother Teresa! Or Tom Brady! Or…or…George Washington, maybe! (Okay, I'm straying a bit from Father Michael's homily, but you know what I mean.)

And, instead, who gets to eat this incredible delicacy?

The creepy brother, sheesh!

I know…amazing, isn't it? But it get's even better!

Catherine nailed it when she pointed to my Crucifix and said (I'm paraphrasing): "Him!"

Yes! Yes! And Yes again!

Jesus is the "fattened calf" and the father — far more "prodigal" than the so-called "Prodigal Son" --  celebrated the return of his repentant son with it (Him)!!!

How cool is that? I'll tell you!

On my way home, I passed by Saint Francis Chapel — and the light was on, as it is every Wednesday during Lent…and the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were there, waiting for the return of each one of us…no, more than waiting — actually looking out always, for the return of the penitents! To rejoice and celebrate and feed them the "fattened calf" as the VIPs they are!

Well…as usual, I'm getting carried away. :-)

We actually did get to the other readings…and prayed. Especially for Tony, Lori's cousin, Eddie, Maureen's friend, for all the Elect who are preparing to come into the Church this Easter…and for you. In your charity, please remember us in your prayers.

And, in the words of Rocket J. Squirrel? "Now here's something(s) you'll really like…

Check out a beautiful reflection on The Solemnity of the Annunciation by Father James Doran, O.M.V.:

Pope Francis:

Let us never forget that to be confessors means to participate in the very mission of Jesus to be a concrete sign of the constancy of divine love that pardons and saves... Every confessor must accept the faithful as the father in the parable of the prodigal son: a father who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he has squandered away his inheritance. Confessors are called to embrace the repentant son who comes back home and to express the joy of having him back again…May confessors not ask useless questions, but like the father in the parable, interrupt the speech prepared ahead of time by the prodigal son, so that confessors will learn to accept the plea for help and mercy pouring from the heart of every penitent. In short, confessors are called to be a sign of the primacy of mercy always, everywhere, and in every situation, no matter what.

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn 

Found Alive Again

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).
Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.
In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.
Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.
But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us - like the prodigal -  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.
God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”
The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.
Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.

Your humble scribe,