Reflecting on Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
One of the things I enjoy about this forum is that I get to talk about books. It’s also unfair, because I get to share what I’m reading while the reader doesn’t. But this website is open for readers from around the country to jump on and talk with each other about spiritual (or other) books they are reading. Thanks so much for joining the online conversation!
Right now the book that captures me is Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle, S.J. It’s his memoir of the ministry that the Jesuits set up in South Central L.A. for the ten thousand gang members within the boundaries of the parish where he serves.
At the center of each of the stories is one theme: forgiveness is the only thing that can heal us, ever. Fr. Boyle has presided over hundreds of funerals of children he loved who were killed by children he loved. (And then those children were killed by the “families” of the murdered, and the miserable vortex of violence just spiraled higher and wider.)
The Paschal (Easter) Mystery, which is the center of our faith, says this: Your dad beat you? You will never, never beat your own children. Your brother was killed by a gang member? You will not avenge his death, but will pray for his murderers. Your son has shamed you and squandered his inheritance on dissolute living? You will wait for him at the city gate and run to greet him when he, half-starved and humiliated, returns.
That iconic story of forgiveness is the one we all need to tattoo on our hearts. Or maybe you have your own story, your own memory of being let off the hook that resonates even more deeply for you. We’d love to hear it. We’re listening.
Have you experienced a reconciliation this year?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).