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In the Sacraments We Encounter Christ the Savior by Father Richard Veras

The Father’s Merciful Embrace

In Eucharistic Prayer III the Church prays, “in your compassion, O merciful Father, gather to yourself all your children scattered throughout the world.”

As we gather for the Triduum and the Easter Octave culminating in Divine Mercy Sunday, let this prayer evoke the parable of the prodigal son, scattered by his sin but made whole by his father’s embrace.

That father is glorified when his son accepts his mercy. The son planned to return as a hired servant, to allow his very identity to be conquered by his sin, and his relationship with his father to be vanquished by his guilt. His father won’t even listen to his speech. His love for his son and his joy at his return conquer all. His son lives anew through his father’s mercy.

Jesus’ promise of mercy through his cross and Resurrection can conquer sin and restore us as sons and daughters of the Father.

Imagine the most heinous sins we might deem “unforgivable,” and all the “worst” sinners we might be tempted to condemn. Imagine all of them being gathered by the Son and brought to the Father!

The Father is glorified when sinners joyfully accept his forgiveness, his Fatherhood. Justice is served not by the way human beings often judge (like the parable’s older brother) but by the mercy of God the Father.

In your compassion, O merciful Father, gather to yourself all your children scattered throughout the world!

Father Richard Veras is director of pastoral formation at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in New York. He is the author of three books, his latest being The Word Made Flesh: Foreshadowed, Fulfilled, Forever (Magnificat).