Ahh, the Prodigal Son. It serves as quite the lesson. We’ve all heard this Gospel many times in Mass, and reflected upon it in school and religious education. Yet it never seems to get any easier; it’s always one of the more challenging Gospels for me to grasp. “It’s just not fair!” I find myself wanting to shout. Sometimes I wonder if Consistency is my sixth strength: “You try to treat everyone in the world with consistency by setting up clear rules and adhering to them.” Perhaps it is that I very much identify with the older son. An obedient child, loyal companion, devoted, faithful.
Even though we've had 60 degree weather lately, that didn't stop the God Squad (Saint Clement's youth group) from snow tubing! God Squad teens and their leaders left Saint Clement at 7:00 a.m. last Sunday and headed to Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin for some good old fashioned winter fun.
The sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation is a sacrament of forgiveness, mercy, healing, and renewal. Through this sacrament, entrusted to the Church, God offers us the assured forgiveness of our sins and the strength to become more faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We approach the sacrament with a sincere sorrow for our sins and a desire to change. We leave the sacrament with the joy of repentance, gratitude for God’s gift of forgiveness, and a resolution to move forward as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
As a vibrant and active Catholic parish in Chicago, Saint Clement is known for the many young couples who receive the Sacrament of Marriage every year. As part of our commitment to helping married couples, we continue to look for ways to help them grow in their commitment to living out their marriage as a Sacrament and a calling.
The Gospel today calls us to repent. The victims of the tragedies Jesus mentions were not exceptional sinners who were singled out for punishment. Jesus used these current events as reminders of the need for all of us to repent. If current events examples weren’t enough to make his point, Jesus also uses a parable to teach repentance. The owner of the fig tree in Jesus’ parable cares only about whether the tree bears fruit, he has no regard for the tree and its life.
As part of our ongoing engagement process, we have come to realize the importance of parishioners sharing their personal stories of how they have connected with Saint Clement as an important factor in their lives. As a feature twice a month, we share the stories and reflections of our engaged parishioners who are living a stewardship life of prayer, service, and giving. This week we hear from Paula Quinn.
In our first reading, God makes Abram (Abraham) a promise to make his descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky. It’s helpful to know a bit of context here. Earlier in the chapter of Genesis that our reading comes from, God comes to Abram in a vision and tells him not to fear, and that God will make Abram’s reward very great. Abram asks God, “Lord, what can you give me, if I die childless?... You have given me no offspring, so a servant of my household will be my heir.” Both Abram and his wife were past childbearing age, and still had no children.
I have always been a very visual person, which means I’m constantly creating images and scenes in my head when I read stories or hear Scriptures. Over the years, I’ve had a particular image that I associate with this Sunday’s Gospel, in which Jesus is being tempted by the devil in the desert. After appealing to Jesus’s hunger, the devil takes Jesus up and “showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant,” promising Jesus all their power and glory if Jesus will worship the devil.