March 6, 2016: 4th Sunday of Lent C
Click to hear Audio Homily
This Saturday morning, many from our community and from the surrounding area went out to help cleanup a subdivision near Paincourtville which suffered devastation from the recent tornados. While we were cleaning up a house that no longer had a roof or walls, the owners of the house, an older couple, worked alongside us cleaning up their yard. The wife said, “My husband shouldn’t be doing the cleanup. He had heart surgery two weeks ago. But he’s hard headed.” The husband replied, “I was worried about how we’re going to cleanup all this mess, and you guys showed up.” He said, “Father, I had eight heart surgeries, a third of my stomach was taken out, and now this. But can I tell you a secret? I have a secret buddy.” He opened up his wallet, and pointed to a small picture of Divine Mercy. He said, “That’s my best buddy.” I could tell this man had great faith and trust in Jesus. He didn’t have insurance for his house, and he was able to salvage any more than a few small items from the wreckage. Yet, he was not despairing.
Our trust is very precious to God. However, often in our spiritual life we have a trust issue with God. A young father shared what his 6-yr. old daughter told him one night. He went by her bedside to begin their routine night prayer before being tucked in. The little one said, “Daddy, let’s not pray any more.” Father asked why. She replied, “What’s the point? God doesn’t do what I tell him to do in my prayer.”
The Prodigal Son in our Gospel had a trust issue with his father. He wasn’t satisfied with what his father provided him; he took his way of life for granted in his father’s house. In some way, the Prodigal Son doubted his father’s goodness; perhaps he said to himself, ‘There must be a more rewarding and exciting life away from my father’s house.’ So he asked for his inheritance and left for a far away land squandering his father’s gifts on temporary enjoyment. When he hit rock bottom, he came to his senses that he could at least get something to satisfy his immediate hunger at his father’s house. He was afraid of his father, but that fear did not extinguish his trust in his father that he would at least treat him like a hired servant. That small trust was enough to bring him back to his father’s house. Even before the son reached his father’s house, the father ran toward him and lavished merciful love on his son.
Someone asked me, “What’s the point of going to confession when I’m repeating the same sin every time I go?” Take heart in what Jesus told St. Faustina, “You see how weak you are...Be at peace. It it precisely through such misery that I want to show the power of My mercy...The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy...I see your efforts, which are very pleasing to me.” (Diary of St. Faustina) Our journey back to the Father’s house begins with trusting in God’s goodness and putting less focus on our prone to failure.
The gentleman who showed me a photo of Divine Mercy in his wallet said to me, “Father, I tell Jesus this every time I go through a difficult time. ‘Jesus, give me just one more day of life with you, and I will serve you the rest of my life.’” With trust, he said this small prayer each time he went through a heart attack. Every time after his recovery, he visited neighbors and shared with them how good God is and encouraged them to place their trust in God. What can we learn from this humble man who has child-like trust?
-Fr. Paul Yi