HOMILY FOR MARCH 27, 2022:
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, CYCLE C
THE FORGIVING FATHER: GOD’S TENDER CARE FOR ALL OF CREATION
(Opening and Closing Prayers on back)
The Lord never holds back in the pouring of blessings upon us, just as the father of the prodigal son
generously gave him his inheritance.
The Holy Circle of Receiving and Giving: We receive God’s magnificent gifts. We share them with each
other. And God gives us more gifts to share.
WIDE OPEN EMPTINESS
But the circle is broken if we take God’s gifts and only spend them on ourselves, like the prodigal son
who wanders off into the wide-open emptiness and squanders his inheritance on himself.
Then the flow of grace between receiving and giving is interrupted. It affects all of our relationships
with the Lord, with each other, and all God’s creation.
Pope Francis laments, “God gave us a bountiful garden, but we have turned it into a polluted
wasteland of debris, desolation, and filth.” The garden of creation has become a wide-open
LAUDATO SI, ON THE CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME
Just as the younger son and the loving, forgiving father are reunited in a beautiful embrace of
reconciliation, Catholic Social Teaching invites us to be reunited with creation.
We are meant to be gentle caretakers of creation. God asks us to take our shoes off because we are on
the holy ground God created.
If we do not begin to take better care of God’s gift of Creation, we will jeopardize the very future and
livelihood of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Pope Francis added “care for our common home” as the eighth Corporal Work of Mercy. He writes,
“[Care for our common home] requires simple daily gestures which break the logic of violence,
exploitation, and selfishness and makes [this care of creation] felt in every action that seeks to build a
Pope Francis added “care for our common home” as the eighth Spiritual Work of Mercy. He writes,
“Care for our common home calls for a grateful contemplation of God’s world which allows us to
discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us.”
Questions for Reflection (feel free to ask whatever questions seem to generate conversation)
● What in the homily moved you or challenged you?
● Why are so many of us reluctant to take care of creation? We resist something as simple as recycling,
conserving water, not wasting food. We know people are starving, garbage is floating in our oceans,
and yet we are indifferent.
Love Compels Action
● This week how can you care for our common home?
● How can we do that as a family at St. Mary Parish?
Thank you for bringing us together to break open your Word. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to discuss
how we can share your message of love and mercy to everyone we meet, especially those who are vulnerable or
marginalized in this world.
Send your Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts to each other, to be curious, and listen to understand. Help us
hear how others’ experiences have shaped their values and perspectives, and how our sharing here today may
bring us closer to You.
Most of all, help us to keep our eyes on you, Jesus. You, who are the center of our lives.
We ask this in your Name,
CLOSING PRAYER by Pope Francis
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you! Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory.
Praise be to you! Holy Spirit, by your light you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you! Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty. Praise be to you!