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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Sep. 15, 2013

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14

Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

2) 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Gospel: Luke 15:1-32

This summer I met some really fantastic people while on vacation in San Diego. The strange part about this is that these people are members of my family. It is hard to believe that after 48 years on the planet there are members of my family that I have yet to meet. But my mother is one of 10 children and my father is one of nine, so there are many cousins all over the country and in other countries.

The occasion for my visit to San Diego was a family reunion for my mother's side of the family. It was simply amazing to say hello to and hug someone to whom I felt instantly connected although we had never met before. Conversation after conversation, laugh after laugh, smile after smile, there was one common denominator: family.

It did not matter that, for example, one of my cousins has spent the last 27 years in Italy. We had a great time sharing our stories about life, family, faith, ups and downs. It seemed much more like we grew up down the street from each other than that we had just met a few hours ago. The love and instant acceptance I received from everyone was overwhelming.

This feeling of family and acceptance is what the younger son walked away from in this week's Gospel reading. It is this same feeling that he longed for while wishing to eat the pig slop after squandering his inheritance. And it is this exact acceptance and love that he received upon his return home.

I think all of us at one time or another are the prodigal or the faithful child, or the parent or friend longing for the return of a loved one. For each of these situations one thing remains constant. God is waiting with open arms to throw us a big party. Our past is not of concern to God; our turn back toward home is the focus of his longing. For when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, we become the source of the Father's joy.


Where do you feel most at home? Have you ever had a deep experience of family? Has there ever been a time when you felt like the prodigal child? What helped you to turn back "home"?


"He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him." -- Luke 15:20


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