I’ll Be Here – Come Back When You’re Ready

#MyMassTakeaway for the 4th Sunday in Lent.

As a hungry teen in my mom’s kitchen, I would often sample the pantry.

“I don’t know what I’m hungry for.”

I’d eat a cookie, a handful of chips, a few crackers, a piece of chocolate. Nothing satisfied.

And then my mom would offer me something, “Can I make you an omelet?”

Yesss pleaaaase.

My mom makes the best omelets. Stuffed with veggie and cheese and cooked just right to perfect fluffiness and deliciousness.

The real food she offered me – nutritious, healthy, and yummy – always satisfied.

The Hungry Prodigal

The part of today’s Gospel that struck me was the hunger of the wayward son.

He sampled the way of the world and nothing satisfied. Gambling, prostitutes, spending additions, you name it. He tried it all and he was still hungry.

He ended up feeding pigs – a detail that drives home the uncleanliness of his habits. He wanted to eat the food the pigs ate. You cant’t sink any lower than that; pigs eat garbage!

He was starving.

His hunger represents the hunger we all have. The hunger for love. The hunger for good and wholesome food.

The hunger for God.

We long for the things that will satisfy. Junk food, sin, and cheap love will never be enough for us. No matter how much we consume, we will always want more.

We hunger for the infinite and unconditional love of God. That’s the only thing that will satisfy.

Searching for Something to Satisfy

In our family, we have this sort of tradition of running away.

Almost every one of my siblings has run away as a child. The funny thing is, we come from a great family!

Our parents were always supportive and loving.

They provided a stable, happy home.

It reminds me of the home the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son provided.

He gave his sons stability, love, and shelter, but still the wayward son up and left. He didn’t realize how good he had it. He thought that his dad was keeping him from living life and having fun.

It was only when he walked away that he was able to see his home for the amazing place it was. He had no idea how bad and empty the world out there was until he experienced it for himself.

He returned with an intense appreciation for the home he grew up in.

He came home ready to reciprocate the love his father had given him for so many years.

Notice that the other son, the one who never strayed, didn’t develop the same sense of appreciation and reciprocated love: “Not once have I disobeyed your commands,” he said to his dad.

He never strayed, but he stayed with a servile attitude rather than a loving heart.

The prodigal’s leaving helped him love deeper, in the end.

Eventually, they’ll come back

My own children are carrying on the family tradition of running away.

Sometimes, they don’t like the rules of the house. They want to eat cookies whenever they feel like it. They don’t want to do their chores or their homework.

So they pack their little backpacks and head out to the backyard.

“I’ll miss you!” I call after them as they go, “Come back when you’re ready.” Then I watch them through the kitchen window as they play and have their imaginary adventure of doing whatever they want.

I watch, and I wait.

I know they’ll eventually come back hungry, wondering what’s for lunch, and admitting, “I missed you.”

I know that their running away is part of the process of discovering what they’re hungry for and where to find it.

By experiencing that loneliness, they will appreciate how much they’re loved. By sampling the emptiness, they’ll discover where they will find their fulfillment.

I love these little prodigals.

I pray that no matter how far they stray, they always know they can come back.

I’ll be right here, waiting for them.

#MyMassTakeaway Linkup

#MyMassTakeaway is a community building hashtag. I encourage you to use it to share your thoughts about the Mass, Eucharist, and readings every Sunday.

Check out these reflections, and head over to Instagram to join!

tojesussincerely

Here’s my takeaway (in shortened form) over on Instagram!

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#MyMassTakeaway – The Hungry Prodigal. The part of today’s Gospel that struck me was the hunger of the wayward son. As a hungry teen in my mom’s kitchen, I would often sample the pantry. “I don’t know what I’m hungry for.” I’d eat a cookie, a handful of chips, a few crackers, a piece of chocolate. Nothing satisfied. And then my mom would offer me something, “Can I make you an omelet?” Yesss pleaaaase. My mom makes the best omelets. Stuffed with veggie and cheese and cooked just right to perfect fluffiness and deliciousness. The real food she offered me – nutritious, healthy, and yummy – always satisfied. The prodigal son sampled the way of the world and nothing satisfied. Gambling, prostitutes, spending additions, you name it. He tried it all and he was still hungry. He ended up feeding pigs – a detail that drives home the uncleanliness of his habits. He wanted to eat the food the pigs ate. You cant’t sink any lower than that; pigs eat garbage! He was starving. His hunger represents the hunger we all have. The hunger for love. The hunger for good and wholesome food. The hunger for God. We long for the things that will satisfy. Junk food, sin, and cheap love will never be enough for us. No matter how much we consume, we will always want more. We hunger for the infinite and unconditional love of God. That’s the only thing that will satisfy.

A post shared by Sara Estabrooks (@tojesussincerely) on

prayerwinechocolate

Amy shares her terror when her 2 year old goes prodigal for 5 minutes.

“I am also taken back by the glimpse I was given at the LOVE God has for us. When George was missing, I just kept calling his name over and over again. How does that hymn go? By name I have called you.”

View this post on Instagram

#MyMasstakeaway So, yesterday, the lost son was the boy in this picture. For what I think was 5 or more minutes, I could not find him. We were outside, and our yard has no fence. It was terrifying. I kept calling his name, circling my house and wondering what direction I should go to look for him first. My older son ran inside to get my husband. I really started to panic. It was awful, but thanks be to God we eventually found him in our next door neighbor's yard. This event and today's Gospel has me thinking about many things. One, I am so grateful that event had a happy ending. I'm also incredibly aware and grateful for my husband's forgiving heart and quiet demeanor. If that situation was reversed, I can almost guarantee I wouldn't have modled the Lord's Mercy the way he did. I am also taken back by the glimpse I was given at the LOVE God has for us. When George was missing, I just kept calling his name over and over again. How does that hymn go? By name I have called you. When I sin, or whenever any of us sin…God is calling us with His loving heart to come back…"come back to me, with all your heart!" I am also wondering if the feeling I had yesterday is a glimpse of what souls feel in purgatory. Seeking to see the source of all love, but not being able to see it… Thank you Lord for being so forgiving…and thank you Lord for my husband is such a great forgiver. #forgiveness #thelostson #theprodigalson #CatholicsOnline #DIYPhotoclub #loveandforgive #gratefulheart #parenthood #Catholicparent #blessedmomma #twinmom #Lent

A post shared by Amy@ PrayerWineChocolate (@prayerwinechocolate) on

emmykrueger

Emily’s reflection on new beginnings is inspired by the Gospel and the splash of color created by cleaning out a dispenser nozzle.

“Forgiveness is letting go of the past so that we can move forward into the next new beginning.”

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Today is all about new beginnings in reconciliation. Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. The story tells how the father welcomes his younger son back with forgiveness, open arms, and celebration and how the older son becomes angry with the father for doing so. The older brother hasn't forgiven the younger brother. The father represents God, the Father of us all. Are you the prodigal or the older brother? I'm definitely the prodigal son… but I'm sometimes the older brother also. The older brother is angry. He's done everything he's supposed to do. But why? Was it simply because it was expected? Was it what he wanted to do? Was it for some kind of reward? It would appear that it wasn't with a happy heart, perhaps even done begrudgingly. We go to Mass each week because we are supposed to. Do we go begrudgingly? Are we just going through the motions because it's what's expected of us? Would we rather stay in bed? Sometimes. Not usually, but once in awhile, I'd rather be somewhere else. My mind just can't focus. Do I begrudge Jesus the time spent with Him when I'd rather be elsewhere? No. Do I beat myself up for not wanting to be where I'm supposed to be? Not usually. I've caught myself going there on occasion, but I usually ask Him to forgive my wandering mind and ask Him to help me focus on what He wants me to hear, see, learn. Jesus taught us how to pray, and in His prayer we are to ask God to forgive us AS WE forgive others. Are we forgiving, no matter what the offense? Forgive doesn't have to mean to forget or to trust in all situations. It’s recognizing that we all make mistakes, and we're not going to let this mistake haunt and consume us in anger. Forgiveness is letting go of the past so that we can move forward into the next new beginning. Psalm 34: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. #mymasstakeaway Pic of the morning purge of tint from the dispenser nozzle at work. New beginnings.

A post shared by Emily Krueger (@emmykrueger) on

underthyroof

Kirby reminds us to act boldly. It’s something we need to do for the good of our parish and the entire Church.

“Acting boldly does not always mean being loud and aggressive. It means making a choice for yourself, committing to it’s follow through, and responding to how that changed the room.”

ginnykochis

Ginny shares how toddler antics help drive the story of the Prodigal Son home.

“Thank God He’ll always welcome me home, especially when I bring my circus.”

catholic_pilgrim79

Amy reflects on the older brother in today’s Gospel. We all can feel like him sometimes, can’t we?

“God showing love to one doesn’t mean it takes away from us.”

meghan_peloquin

Meghan reflects on our different responses to God in the different seasons of our lives.

“No matter what season you are in, or how your Lent has been going thus far our Father is ready to rejoice in you and embrace you as you choose to grow closer to Him.”

vrlyfry

Rebecca reminds us that God waits watchfully for us. He is always ready for our return home and will run out to meet us with open arms.

“No matter how far we think we’ve fallen away from our Father in heaven, He is watching and waiting to run to, embrace, and kiss us.”

beautifulcamouflagedmess

Anni reminds us to turn to God for forgiveness with the faith of a little child.

“Have faith like a little child – don’t be afraid to reach out to God and emulate the prodigal son… to acknowledge your shortcomings – and sin – and to seek His mercy.”

militarycouncilofcatholicwomen

The lovely MCCW page asks us to reflect on whether we’ve ever squandered our inheritance – and calls us to turn back to God’s open arms.

“As the father embraced his prodigal son, God waits to embrace you. He waits, arms outstretched, to throw a party for your return to Him.”

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Facing Fears: Draw Near to the Burning Bush

#MyMassTakeaway for the 3rd Sunday in Lent.

Moses reacts to the burning bush in a way I never would.

Something uncomfortable and inexplicable happened in Moses’ life, right in front of his eyes. A bush was engulfed in flames, but it didn’t burn.

I would have been out of there so fast.

No way would I have gone and taken a closer look. But Moses didn’t run away. Moses entered into the mystery.

Continue reading “Facing Fears: Draw Near to the Burning Bush”

What do You Know About the Liturgical Year?

We play Catholic Trivia over on Instagram each month. These are the questions and answers to this month’s #4thFridayTrivia game.

What’s more familiar to us than the year?

We live it every day, every week, every month, year-in and year-out. You’d think we would know it like the back of our hand.

The liturgical year is packed full of amazing feast days and celebrations. And those feast days and celebrations are surrounded by traditions, customs, symbolism, history, debate, and meanings you may not know they had.

Let’s see how much you know about the liturgical calendar!

Continue reading “What do You Know About the Liturgical Year?”

The Gospel in Which God Tells Peter to Shut it.

#MyMassTakeaway for the 2nd Sunday in Lent.

I just love St. Peter. He’s the guy to turn to when we feel like we’re getting it all wrong. Chances are, he’s been there done that.

Peter denied Jesus, rebuked Jesus, lost faith in the middle of a miracle and began to drown. Even Saint Paul had to tell Peter what’s what once in a while.

Despite all Peter’s shortcomings, though, Jesus called Peter the Rock. He built the Church on Peter, and left Peter to take care of it.

If Peter, with all his faults and shortcomings, can be the Rock on which Christ’s Church is built, then there’s hope for me to be who Christ is calling me to be, too.

Let’s take a look at what Peter’s up to, today.

Continue reading “The Gospel in Which God Tells Peter to Shut it.”

It Sounds Like Home

The Mass is the heartbeat of the Church.

We called her Bamas.

She was my dad’s mom. She had a collection of unique accents in her home that I always loved as a kid. Her blown-glass balls sparkling in the windows. Her vintage Mrs. Butterworths jars lining the shelf in the foyer. Her statues of portly friars adorning the living room.

By my favorite was the tangle of brass bells hanging on her door. Continue reading “It Sounds Like Home”

Tweak Your Holy Week – 5 simple ideas

5 Simple Ideas to bring Christ into the everyday moments of your life throughout Holy Week.

St. Paul says we make up for what’s lacking in Christ’s sufferings (see Col 1:24). This isn’t because Christ’s Passion is in any way incomplete, but because Jesus offers us an opportunity to share in His Cross. What’s “lacking” is our participation – not Christ’s deficiency, but ours.

Here are 5 simple ways we can participate in Christ’s passion, by offering everyday moments of our life in union with His suffering. Continue reading “Tweak Your Holy Week – 5 simple ideas”

The Mass: 2 things you know and 1 that will blow your mind

A reflection on the Mass in the context of Holy Week.

We go to Mass every Sunday or more.  We know the routine so well we sometimes go on auto-pilot.  We receive the Eucharist habitually.  And we lose our sense of awe and mystery.

I’m here to bring it back today.

Let’s start with what we know. Continue reading “The Mass: 2 things you know and 1 that will blow your mind”

Walking Holy Week with Jesus

A prayer journal for the holiest week of the year.

Imagine yourself encountering Holy Week for the first time.

Place yourself into history.

You’ll walk by His side every step of the way. You’ll experience the fear, the pain, the suffering, and finally, the joy of this pivotal week in Salvation History.

With this prayer journal, you’ll enter into Holy Week in a whole new way.

Continue reading “Walking Holy Week with Jesus”