A Good Word by Fr. Greg Jakubowicz, OFM 9.11.2022
Our Gospel this Sunday from Luke shares the parable of the Prodigal Son.
It is the story - about the young son who insults his father by asking him for his inheritance while his father is still alive. His father gives him the money and the son takes off and squanders all the money in short time. Becoming destitute, the son comes to his senses and realizes his mistake. So, he plans to head home to ask his father for forgiveness and is willing to be treated no longer as a son but rather as a hired hand. The father, seeing his lost son approach in the distance becomes overjoyed and goes running out to greet him with unconditional love. Even as the son apologizes to his father, his father is already planning the celebration to welcome his lost son home.
Of course, the older brother is hurt by his father’s actions – feeling somewhat taken for granted given that he never disobeyed his father and had remained at his side. His father reassures his older son of his love for him and his desire to share all that he has with him. The father explains how he also loves his younger son and invites his older son to see how good it is that his lost brother has come back to them. And that is where the story ends.
I’ve often wondered what would have happened next.
I would like to think the older son sees his father’s love for both of his sons, finds in his heart his own love for his younger brother, and goes to join the party welcoming his lost brother home. I’d also like to think the younger son, upon experiencing such loving forgiveness from the father he took advantage of and treated unlovingly, also becomes more humble and more loving like his father. Both sons hopefully have been changed by the Love of their father. At least that is how I would like the rest of the story to go.
How does our story go?
You and I have an incredible God who loves you and me unconditionally. No matter how far we stray or how sinful we act, our God runs after you and me to embrace us with His merciful forgiveness and unwavering love. I can think of nothing in our lives more powerful nor more important than our knowing of and experiencing that Love of God for you and me.
But has that Love of God changed you and me?
Has it made you and me more loving, more humble, and more forgiving? If it hasn’t – then the good news is that it isn’t too late to respond to that Love of God with love.
I pray that you and I are always in love with the source of Love itself, our God - and that we share that gift of love with others.
I hope you will consider joining us for tonight’s Student Mass as we celebrate our annual Mass of the Holy Spirit. During the Mass we will be invoking the Holy Spirit to bless all our students with wisdom and right judgment during this new academic year. What a great way to kick off the new academic year – with a special Mass and a special blessing!
We will also be awarding our annual Newman Award to Marienne Moffett after Communion at Mass. Marienne (along with her husband Bob) for years had been the catalyst for our major fundraiser for UB- St. Joe’s Catholic Campus Ministry. She coordinated the annual “Tasting” event that provided us with the funds to offer so many of our programs, including the free food after Sunday evening Mass. Please join us in honoring Marienne.
After Mass tonight we invite our students to join us for a free cookout with hot dogs and hamburgers (and veggie burgers) to celebrate the new school year.
On this anniversary of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, let us continue to pray for peace in our world.
As always, if there is anything we can do for you at UB Catholic campus ministry, please let me know. We are here for you.
May God bless you with Peace and All Good.