Fourth Sunday of Lent

“As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst… ‘Repent and believe.'”



My Dear Parishioners:
God is doing whatever it takes to bring us home. God is even willing to use the tragedies and mistakes of our life, to bless us and to lead us to growth

There is an African story about a local tribal king, who had an incredibly good friend from boyhood. The two would regularly go out hunting together. The king’s friend was resolute in his conviction that no matter what happened, good things would come from it. Despite many doubts to the contrary, he continued to believe that all things worked for the good. One day when the king and his friend were out hunting, the king’s gun jammed, and it blew off his thumb. It was a tragedy. The king was deeply shaken. But his friend in typical style said, “Don’t worry, good will come from this.” Now this so angered the king, that in a rage he sent his friend to prison. A couple of months later the king was out hunting again in some rather dangerous territory. He was seized by a group of cannibals, who tied him and prepared to eat him. But just before they began, they noticed that his thumb was missing. Being superstitious, they believed that they should never eat anyone who was less than whole. So, they untied the king and set him free.

Realizing what had happened, the king repented that he had treated his friend so poorly. The loss of his thumb had indeed saved his life. So, the king went to the prison and apologized to his friend. “You were right,” he said, “I should never have put you into prison, that was a terrible and unjust decision.” The friend, in typical fashion, said, “Yes it was, but good came from it.” “Good?” the king said, “what possible good could come from my decision to put my friend in prison?” “Well,” said the friend, “had you not put me in prison, I would have been out hunting with you and the cannibals would have eaten me!”

Even our greatest disappointments can lead to blessings. Even our most foolish decisions can lead to growth. This is what we as Christians believe. We do not believe that is the way the world is. We believe that is the way God is. God is doing whatever it takes to bring us home. That is why for a Christian, despair is never a final option. Even if we have rejected our father, squandered our inheritance, and find ourselves feeding slop to hogs. Even if the person we love the most has been taken from us. Even if we have lost our health or our reputation. Even if we have made disastrous decisions and sinned so grievously that, like the prodigal son, we feel that we are no longer worthy to be God’s child. Even then, God is doing whatever it takes to bring us home.

Therefore, the next time you have to face evil in the eye, the next time that you realize what a mess you have made of your life, the next time you know that the pigs are eating better than you are-do not despair. Turn around and start going home. The way back may be crooked and difficult, but it is a road that has been prepared for you. Do not forget that when you come to the end of that road, you will not face rejection but welcome. You will not encounter a cold shoulder, but a loving embrace.

Fr. Monteleone

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