There was once a STORY written by Richard Pindell entitled “Somebody’s Son”. It opens with a runaway boy, named David, sitting by the side of the road. He is writing a letter home to his mother. The letter expresses the hope that his old fashioned father will forgive him and accept him again as a son. He writes: Dear Mother: “In a few days I’ll be passing our property. If Dad will take me back, ask him to tie a white cloth on the Apple Tree in the field next to our house.”
Days later David was seated in a train. It is rapidly approaching his home. Two pictures flash back and forth in his mind: the apple tree tied with a white cloth on it and the tree without a white cloth tied on it. As the train draws nearer and nearer, David’s heart beats faster and faster. Soon the tree will be visible around the bend. But David can’t bring himself to look at it. He’s afraid the white cloth won’t be there. Turning to the man next to him, he says nervously: “Mister, will you do me a favor? Around the bend on the right, you will see a tree. Tell me if there’s a white cloth tied to it.”
As the train rumbles past the tree, David stares straight ahead. Then, in a quaking voice, he asks the man, “Sir, is a white cloth tied to one of the branches of the tree?” The man answers in a surprised tone of voice: “Why, son, there’s a white cloth tied to practically every branch! The story illustrates what Jesus is saying in the first half of today’s parable. He is saying that GOD forgives us after we sinned. Jesus is saying even more. He’s saying that God not only forgives us when we sin but also treats us afterward as if we hadn’t sinned.
This is clear from the three things the loving Father does in today’s parable. FIRST: He embraces his son. Embracing the boy shows that the father welcomes him back fully. SECOND: The father puts shoes on his son’s feet. Putting shoes on the boy’s feet shows that the father forgives him fully. In Biblical times, shoes were the sign of a free man, slaves were bare-footed. FINALLY: The father gives his son a ring. Putting a ring on the boy’s finger shows that the father restores him fully to the status he had before he ran away. And so, the Embrace, the Shoes, and the Ring show that the father welcomes back his son totally, forgives him fully, and restores him completely to the status he had before.
What do all these say to us here today? It says two things: FIRST: It says that he will always forgive us after we sinned. SECOND: It says WE SHOULD FORGIVE OTHERS AS GOD HAS FORGIVEN US. And if we do this, we can be sure that when we depart this world in death and approach the GATE OF HEAVEN, we too will see an APPLE TREE there with a white cloth tied to practically every branch. AMEN!!! Reflect on this…
#144. AN OLD LEGEND ON THE “LAST DAY”. There is an old and beautiful legend in which someone has pictured the ‘LAST DAY’ in heaven. On the last day, everyone is celebrating, dancing and singing gratefully that they have made it. Everyone is joyful except Jesus. Jesus is standing very quietly in the shadows of the gates. Someone asks Him what He is doing amidst all the celebrations. He replies: “I’m waiting here for Judas Iscariot.” This legend symbolizes the infinite quality of God’s forgiving love which He offers even to Judas Iscariot.
This Sunday is Grandparents Day and Patriot Day. On the 13th, we have the memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church and patron of preachers and of Istanbul (Constantinople). We have the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the 14th. The 15th we have the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. On the 16th, we celebrate the feast days of St, Cornelius, Pope and St. Cyprian, Bishop, both were martyrs. Finally on the 17th it’s the feast day of St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. It is also the Independence Day of Mexico. This is all for now watch for the next bulletin. God Bless!
Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,