Pastor's Desk: 4th Sunday of Lent
Welcome everyone and a particularly warm welcome to the mothers and grandmothers in our congregation this Sunday as today is Mother’s Day! I hope you all have a great day and enjoy what I am sure is a rare opportunity to put your feet up and be pampered!! Happy Mother’s Day!
The Prodigal Son
Being Mother’s Day I suppose it is a bit ironic that the central characters in our Gospel today are three men. We see Jesus at his teaching best this Sunday; about two thousand years ago, Jesus uttered this story as a way of showing the ability of people to be selfish and debauched, uncaring and closed while also able to be humble, contrite and ultimately loving and forgiving. It is a masterful parable and one that has come down through the centuries to us today and still has the ability to speak to us as though it was written for our time. In the younger son we see the arrogance of youth; he wants his inheritance now. There is no recognition of the work the father has put in to building it up so that there is something to be shared between his two sons. The son squanders the money and pride prevents his returning home. Eventually he comes to his senses and decides to be a slave for his father rather than for strangers. The elder son exhibits selfishness also in refusing to celebrate his younger brother’s return. He wants retribution because he stayed and did his duty. The one who is an example to us all is the father who shows to both sons a great parental love; a love that is unconditional and is shared equally between them. Jesus wants us to see in the father, a glimpse of the love that God has for us and which is manifested in the sending of His Son to us. Let us take the example of the father in the story for our behaviour and attitude to others.
St. Patrick’s Day
Wednesday is the great feast of the Apostle to Ireland, Patrick. His own life story is told in his Confessions and it is an amazing story of fear, pain, forgiveness and love. Patrick first arrives in Ireland after being rounded up in a slave-capturing expedition to possibly modern France or Wales. He is 16 years old and sold to look after sheep in Ulster. The pain of separation from his Christian family is felt everyday but his faith in God sustains him till he gets the courage to run away from his captors. At home he joins the priesthood as his father did and also his grandfather who was a permanent deacon. Upon ordination he wants to be a missionary, to bring the Word of God to those who have never heard it and he chooses Ireland of all places; the people who treated him so shamefully. Patrick was an extraordinarily gifted preacher and our celebration of him this week is proof of his abilities in spreading the faith. In all our celebrations let us remember the man and not the myth.
Have a great week