The Prodigal Son

Thank you for joining us for the next installment in our “Stained Glass Window Reflection Series.” Our parish’s “focus phrase” for Lent 2019 is “Rekindle – Renew – Rejoice” and so with this in mind, we look at the stained glass window of “The Prodigal Son” as found in St. Denis Church.

God invites us into relationship. We enter that relationship, through God’s grace, in the sacrament of Baptism. At the Easter Vigil, those adults who have been preparing to receive Baptism, profess their faith – as found in the Creed – and rejoice at their baptism. We, who are already baptized, reaffirm our Baptismal Vows, and likewise rejoice at God’s gift of relationship with the Holy Trinity and the share in the eternal life of the Holy Trinity given to us through God’s generosity. That generosity is ultimately the Life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Lent is a time to prepare for that event.

The stained glass window of the return of the Prodigal Son, reminds us that we are called to rekindle our relationship with God. (Perhaps you would like to take a moment and read the Gospel passage, found at the end of this reflection, which inspired the artists who composed the stained glass window.) The prodigal son harms the relationship that he has with his father and comes to realize the full consequences of his actions when he hits rock-bottom. The son wants to rekindle his relationship with his father. However, the son thinks that his relationship with his father is so damaged that the only hope he has in rekindling any kind of relationship is by becoming his father’s slave. Instead, as we see in the stained glass window, at the moment of the son’s pleading in sorrow/contrition, the son’s self-imposed penance of a relationship relegated to just being a slave is met with his father saying to the servant to “Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.”

The son’s relationship with the father was harmed seriously, but never ruined, never terminated. And so our relationship with God. Any sin we commit harms our relationship with God, who is all good and deserving of all our love. But our sin can never ruin our relationship with God and can never terminate it IF we are contrite, IF we are truly sorry for offending God. When we go to the Sacrament of Confession with a contrite heart, we do not re-establish a relationship with God as God’s slave, we are renewed as God’s daughter/son. We are renewed in the same relationship that God established with us at our Baptism, the same relationship with God confirmed at our Confirmation, the same relationship sustained by our communion with God in Communion.
Notice the servant in the stained glass window. He is wearing purple. Purple is the color of the Liturgical Season of Lent. Purple is the color of the vestments of the priest in Lent and purple is the color of the stole the priest wears during the Sacrament of Confession. Let the priest serve you as the servant serves the father – by being the agent of reconciliation with the Father in the sacrament of Confession. Let the grace of God, through the sacramental grace given in Confession, renew your relationship with God and give you cause to rejoice!

The Parable of the Lost Son. Luke 15, 11-32
Then he said, “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.’”


Week Day Masses:    
7:30 am (Mon.-Tues.-Wed.-Fri.) - Saturday: 8:30 am
Saturday Evening: 4:30 pm (fulfills Sunday obligation) - Church
8am, 9:30am, & 11am - Church
10:00 am Beach Chapel
Holy Days: 
Evening before: 7:00 pm & day of: 7:30 am & 7:00 pm - Church

Saturdays, 3:30-4:15 pm in the main church



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