DAILY MASS READINGS (March 14, 2020)

SATURDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF LENT (CYCLE A, Violet)

Reading 1 (MICAH 7:14-15, 18-20)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Micah

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12)

R. (8a)  The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Verse Before The Gospel (LUKE 15:18)

(Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)

I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

(Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)

Gospel (LUKE 15:1-3, 11-32)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Parable of the Prodigal Son, which is our most favorite parable, tells us of the great mercy of God. The word “prodigal” means ‘wasteful,’ ‘lavish,’ and ‘lost’. We see these characteristics possessed by the younger son, when he asked his father to divide the estate. And what happened is that he wasted the money by spending it with luxuries and prostitutes. When a famine struck the country, he could hardly eat anything but the food of the pigs. That is why he thought to himself if he could ask his father to turn him into a slave. But it wasn’t what he supposed to expect. The father ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him. Then a feast was prepared for him and the fattened calf was slaughtered. On the other hand, the older son was very faithful to the promises of his father. But he lacked concern and mercy for his younger brother. After what had happened, he got angry and argued on why spend a feast on a disobedient instead of an obedient. This is how arrogant he was. So the father humbled his heart by reminding him the important thing, that the younger brother was lost, but has been found.
My dear brothers and sisters, this parable narrated by Saint Luke is also referred by many as the Parable of the Prodigal Father. Why you may ask? The father in the setting wasted his love for the younger son. Even though this man had sinned, he still embraced him and welcomed him. And he reminded the older son that even if others have done something wrong, they still have the chance to return. That is the same with our God. Our God is very loving and merciful, no matter how many times we sin against him. That is why he gave us his Only Begotten Son to redeem us from the ancient slavery of sin. The Prophet Micah, a contemporary figure of Isaiah, proclaims to us that truly God is merciful and generous in loving and forgiving because of the great wonders of old shown to Israel such as the covenant that they are his people, and he is their God. It also shows how he gives us chances to repent from our sins and be converted into his faithful promises. Therefore in this penitential season, we are invited to live the challenge of Jesus: “Be merciful, just as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). As we journey down this Lenten road, let us return to the Lord with our whole heart and reconcile with our brothers and sisters, especially our enemies as we continue to pray for their conversion.

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