God loves you
Mass presided by Msgr. Simas
Last Friday I participated in a soft opening ceremony with our school community. Celebrating the new playground and I told the children very simply: "I now tell you. God loves you. God loves you"
Each of the parables in today's Gospel highlight lost items and the joy associated with finding them. The parables are hopefully reminders of God's love for us, and love that we are to share with one another and with others. God loves us not for what we have done, but rather, for whom we are: his children. Because of his love for us, should we go astray or be lost, God does not tire of seeking us out, and he rejoices when we are found, when we return to our father's house.
In the first of the parables in the Gospel, we heard in the shepherd we had 100 sheep and he lost one of them. Leaving the 99 safely in place, he goes to look for the one that had gone astray. And he finds that, he places it on his shoulder, and carries it safely back to the others. The shepherd invites his friends to rejoice with him because the sheep that was lost had been found. The point is that the shepherd is our God. That shepherd is our God.
The second parable was about the woman who lost a valuable coin. She lights a candle, diligently sweeps the house until she finds it. And finding it, she invites her friends to rejoice with her. And that woman is an image of God.
The third is the longer, and the most beautiful of the parables of all. The younger of two sons asked the father for his inheritance as if the father was dead, and received the inheritance. Saint Luke tells us the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of participation. And after he had spent everything, he was penniless as a severe famine hit the country. And he found himself in dire need, so he ended up on a farm where he was hired to tend pigs and how or how long to eat for. The pigs were eating but nobody gave him anything to eat. So he began to think a little bit, thinking about his foolishness, and thinking about the food that the people that were his father hired or were eating and everywhere people were dying of hunger. So he decides to return to his father - a good decision. And he planned to say father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son and treated as you would treat one of your hired workers. So with this in mind, with that intention in mind he sets off for his father's house. This beautiful scene while he was still a long way off, the father caught sight of him. He was filled with love and with compassion. and The father didn't just stand there and wait for the son to come to him, rather he ran to us and he embraced him, and he kissed him. and before the son could finish as prepared, the father ordered his servants to quickly bring the finest robe, and put it on him and put a ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it, then let us celebrate because this son of mine was dead and has come to life, he was lost and has been found.
The older son when he learns what's going on becomes very angry about the attention being given to his brother. What does he do? He complains. He complains to his father. And this beautiful response of the father: "my son, you are here with me always, everything I have is yours". Notice the father did not reprimand either of the two sons, he responded as he did, not because of what he said or did. He responded as he did because they were his children and he loved them. He loved them.
That father is an image of God, a God of love and a God of compassion. He is our father. He is our father. You and I are his children, and as I told the children last Friday morning celebrating our new playground. I can tell you "God loves you, God loves each and every one of you, share that love with one another, and with others".
Today, being on 9-11, may I conclude with the following statement "there is much to learn about ourselves and our relationship with God through these parables, yet, parables about loss on a day marked by tragedy can be challenging. We should not gloss over the pain and grief associated with loss to focus on the joy of finding. On this day of remembrance, we should recognize that for many people, this day of loss will remain a time of reflection and grief. Though we should not push people to hurry through grief, the reminder that God offers mercy and compassion at all times whenever we are ready, may be the source of consolation and peace"
失而復得 - 天主愛你。天主真愛你
福音的第一個比喻是講一個牧羊人有 100 隻羊，其中一隻走失了。祂先將 99 隻安全地留在原地，然後去尋找那誤入歧途的羊。當找到了這隻羊，祂高興的把它背在肩上，安全地將它與其他的羊擺在一起。然後邀請他的朋友一起慶祝，因為祂找到了那隻迷失的羊。在這裡，牧羊人就是我們的天主。
第三個是所有比喻中最長、最優美的。一個父親有兩個兒子，小兒子在父親健在時就向父親索取遺產，父親也分給了他。路加告訴我們，小兒子帶了祂分配到的財產後、到一個遙遠的國家去，在那裡他將遺產浪費在娼妓的身上。他花光了所有的財產，這個國家又遭受嚴重的飢荒。小兒子身無分文，又需要活下去，他找到了一個農場，受僱照管豬，他管的豬按時吃喝，但沒人給小兒子食物吃。他就想到自己的愚蠢，想到他父親的僱傭，又想到這些僱傭按時的有吃有喝，但是他在的地方到處都有人餓死。最後他決定回到父親身邊～這是一個很好的決定。小兒子打算對父親說“父親！我得罪了天，也得罪了祢。不配再稱作祢的兒子，把我當作祢的一個傭工罷”.帶著這樣的想法，他出發回父家。在他還沒有到父家的時候，父親遠遠的看見了他，充滿了愛和同情，跑到小兒子身邊，擁抱他，親吻他。在兒子還沒開口講話前，父親就吩咐僕人把最好的袍子拿來，給他穿上，在他手指上戴上戒指，又給他穿上鞋子，宰了肥牛犢來慶祝。父親說： “我的兒子是死而復生，失而復得” 。他們就歡宴起來。這是一個多麼美麗的景象啊。
今天是 9 月 11 日，讓我對今天的福音下一個結論：“從這些比喻中，我們可以更了解我們與天主的關係。但是在這悲劇的日子來了解失而復得的比喻是一個挑戰。我們不應只專注於尋找失而復得的快樂來掩飾失落的痛苦和悲傷。紀念 9/11，我們了解，對於許多受害者來說，這一天是悲傷和反思的時刻。我們無法加速這個療傷的過程，但是我們要記住，在我們準備好的時候，天主會隨時提供憐憫和同情，因為祂是安慰與和平的源泉。