We have heard a great deal over the past few weeks from Jesus about reconciliation, forgiveness and mercy.  This week Jesus tells us the story o the two sons – one who at first defies him but ultimately chooses to obey.  The second indicates he will obey but does not.  In many ways it parallels the story of the Prodigal Son.  It is also a story about each of us.  For we are all sinners.  But God rejoices in those who recognize their sinfulness and strive to transform their hearts wrapped in God’s mercy and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus.  Each of us must travel the journey of setting aside our pride, our self-centeredness, and other sins, replacing them with humility, gentleness and selflessness.  Some come quickly and others take a little longer.  But God waits patiently for each of us welcoming us home with great joy.

As Vincentians, we seek these virtues of humility, gentleness, selflessness, simplicity and zeal that we might grow in our holiness and turn toward God in all we do.  This is the gift that those we minister to give to us.  They teach us these virtues by their living examples.  They are not perfect – they make mistakes.  Neither am I perfect.  What those who are suffering though have learned is humility and gentleness in ways I can only aspire too.  Watch those who are suffering and a common trait is care for others.  Do I pay attention?  Do I accept the gift they give me with gratitude?  Do I set my pride and self-importance to the side that I might see the presence of Christ in all situations?

Father, I am a sinner who has offended you. Grant that my heart might be touched by your presence in the poor and the suffering.  Help me to see the gift they offer me.  Help me to let go of my pride, my self-importance, my lack of patience, my deceit of even myself that I might recognize you waiting in the distance for me to journey toward you.  Allow me to embrace those in need that I might feel your loving embrace of me.  I pray all of this in your Son’s name.  Amen

Deacon Mike