Lenten Retreat Week Four: Counting the Cost
Hello friends, and welcome to week four of our Lenten retreat!
The mission of The SundayMonday is to encourage and equip all of us to be bold in our faith, work, and life. Each Sunday this Lent, we’ll be sending out a reflection on the Gospel and how it pertains to living our faith at work. My prayer is that these short, practical emails will propel us all into the work week, ready to tackle anything that might be thrown at us with peace, joy, and courage.
This week’s Gospel is Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 here, or scroll to the bottom of the email and come back up for the reflection.
Today, on this fourth Sunday of Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son. We’ve heard it countless times – the younger son demands his inheritance and leaves his loving father, only to return after spending the money and finding no joy in being away. The father welcomes him back with open arms, as the older son jealously looks on, only to be reminded that all that the father has is his.
I’ve thought a lot about the abundance of God this year. How He not only turns water into wine at the wedding of Cana, but provides the very best wine and an excess amount of it. He not only fills the nets of Peter and Andrew as they fish, but He provides so much that the nets tear and the boats threaten to sink.
Like the father, He is abundant. All that He has is ours. And in the view of this, our faith takes flight. He demands things – our attention, our talents, our hearts – not to take them away but to elevate them so our souls might magnify the lord.
We are a miserly people (I know that I am.) When I do give, there’s a sense of “is this enough? Have I fulfilled my duty?” But that’s not how God gives to us. He provides abundantly, generously, without counting the cost. What would my life look like if I gave generously, without counting the cost?
These words from Mother Theresa exemplify this image: Love does not measure; it only gives.
We are halfway through Lent. Our practices and commitments might be falling to the side, we may feel lukewarm as the routine sets in and temptation pulls us to shirk our fasts. But what if we took this opportunity to double down? What if, instead of pulling back, we pour out and forward?
That’s my challenge this week. Remember your Lenten observance and bring it back to its full glory. If you’re finding it easy, consider adding something on. Maybe you’re praying for 15 minutes a day – consider 30. Maybe you’re attending a daily mass or two a week – consider 4-5, or add in Stations on Fridays.
How can we make the next half of Lent even better than the past four weeks?
I’m here with you. God bless you this week!
This week’s Gospel
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable:
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then 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.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘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.’”
· For all those discerning big decisions
· For two friends who welcomed sweet babies this month!
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