Fw: <TW>Weekend of 15 and 16 September 2007

  • From: "Marge Hickey" <marge@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <morningprayer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 16:40:03 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)

-------Original Message-------
From: Fr. Pat Umberger
Date: 09/05/07 21:49:57
Subject: Weekend of 15 and 16 September 2007
..=:  T H I S    W E E K E N D  :=.
     from Father Pat Umberger
J O I N    S I S T E R    J O S E L D A    A N D    M E
A great Pilgrimage to the Holy Land - 04-15 November 2007!
Several seats remain.
$2714 from Minneapolis or $2599 from JFK in New York!
Land only price (meet us in the Holy Land) is $1926.
..=:  V O L U M E   2 0 0 7 , Number 09-16 :=.
..=:  T H I S   W E E K E N D ' S   S C R I P T U R E S  :=.
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C.
Weekend of 15 and 16 September 2007
Follow this link for this weekend's Scriptures:
..=:  R E F L E C T I O N   Q U E S T I O N S  :=.
"They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making
for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it ... "   What are the
works of our hands that sometimes tempt us to give them more attention than
they're worth?  What are the other "gods" we're tempted to worship?
"I will rise and go to my father."  When are the times when we decided to
arise and go to our father?  Are they mostly good times or bad?  Why do you
think that is?
"I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy ... "  Who are the ones who have
considered us trustworthy and thereby encouraged us to grow in the right
""What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not
leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds
it?"  Who are the lost sheep that are in need of "finding?" When have we
been that lost sheep?  Who reached out to us at that time? How can we do
that for the lost ones around us?
"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not
leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds
it?"  How has "hunger" for something been the motivation for us to go back
and make amends with those we have hurt?
" ... 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."  Do we have this
kind of love for those around us, that we'd celebrate the return of one who
had hurt us deeply without even waiting for an apology?  How does it make us
feel to know that this is the kind of love God has for us?
" ...yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends."
When have we been like the dutiful son who had always done right, and then
resented that someone who had hurt others deeply got off with a lesser
punishment than we believed they deserved?
How are these readings challenging?  Comforting?
(c)MMVII Fr. Pat Umberger.  These Reflection Questions are found each week
at the Web Site www.frpat.com. Feel free to link to this page or reproduce
them for parish use as long as this credit remains.
..=:  S P I R I T U A L   R E F L E C T I O N   :=.
Sometimes we forget about what is the most important.  As we grow older we
want certain things.  We can get into the habit of wanting them so much that
we forget about the things that are more important.  As children we can beg
until we get what we want.  When we get it we can quickly forget about it
and move on to something else.  As adults we can do much the same. Sometimes
we put our relationships in jeopardy when we do that.  Sometimes we work
hard to get what we think our family wants, then deprive them of time with
us.  That may be what those around us need the most.
In today's first reading we hear of "stiff-necked people."  They had turned
aside from the Lord's way and even fashioned for themselves a golden calf.
They worshiped it.  It's difficult to conceive of people who are much
farther off the track.  In our Gospel reading we hear of a son who considers
the inheritance he'll receive one day.  How gloriously happy he'll be when
that day comes.  He forgets about the feelings of his own father and asks
for the inheritance now.  It's almost inconceivable to imagine how hurt his
father must have been.
What we see in the scriptures is borne out in real life.  When we turn away
from God and those we love we come to a bad end.  We can quickly learn that
our way doesn't lead us anywhere good.  We can come to realize how important
our family members and friends are to us.  We can even be tempted not to
return.  It can be hard to humble ourselves to the extent that we can admit
that we are wrong.
For that reason there are many who remain estranged from family members and
friends for months and years.  Some don't speak for the rest of their lives.
Some of us stop going to Church.  We find it difficult to return, too.
There's a strange human tendency too, to develop an anger toward the very
ones we have hurt the most.  If we can do that, perhaps it will seem more
reasonable not to go back.  It's hard to admit our own wrongdoing, that's
for sure.  Adam and Eve are great evidence of that.
Many times though, the one we have hurt remain ready to welcome us with open
arms.  God is certainly ready to do that.  In today's Gospel, the story of
the Prodigal Son, we hear how badly things turned out for the son who asked
for his inheritance.  When he runs out of money, he find himself starving
and with the menial job of feeding the pigs.  He could have followed the
path of many of us and lived a desperate life.  He could have preserved his
"pride" and ended up dying of starvation, or taken the road of alcoholism or
drug addiction.  He was smarter than that.
He realized how loving his family was.  He knew what he deserved.  It wasn't
much.  But he had confidence that his father would at least give him the job
of a hired hand.  He wouldn't starve.  So he began his journey home. When he
arrived, his father didn't even wait for an apology.  He ran to meet him. He
put a ring on his finger and gave him new clothes and prepared a banquet.
The brother of this Prodigal Son was not as forgiving.  He harbored his
resentment to the extent that he couldn't even call him a brother any more.
That didn't stop the father.  He says to the brother, "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 father's love was always there.  He simply waited for the return of his
son.  Of course, this is an image to describe God's love for each of us.  No
matter how far we stray, God waits for our return.  Chances are that many of
those we hurt continue to wait as well.  We can be faced with a choice. Will
we preserve our "dignity" and doom ourselves to further loneliness and
guilt?  Will we return home and begin the process of reconciliation?  The
choice is ours.
God waits.  The Church waits.  Our family members and friends wait.
This week, we can consider the times when we have wandered away.  If we feel
far from someone, from God or from the Church we can pray for the
willingness to come back.  We can accept the strength God offers us to do
so.  We can become ready to end our loneliness and desperation and
re-establish connections with those who have meant so much to us.
Perhaps we'll even forward this to someone who has moved away from us.
Have a good week!
(c)MMVII Fr. Pat Umberger.  This Spiritual Reflection is found each week at
the Web Site www.frpat.com. Feel free to link to this page or reproduce them
for parish use as long as this credit remains.

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