The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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September 7, 2001 Issue
Summoned to Serve

Praying with Sunday's Scriptures

Our gracious and forgiving Father meets us on our journey of faith

Editor's note: To help small faith-sharing groups, couples, individuals and others continue the Renew 2000 experience of praying with the Sunday Scriptures, a Diocesan Faith Sharing Writing Team has prepared a monthly series using the Renew model. The series is being distributed to parish leaders and will appear in The Compass the week before that Sunday.

Sept. 16, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Reading I: Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Reading II: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Gospel: Luke 15:1-32

By Marge Mattice

Summoned to Serve

Focus: A gracious God meets us as we are on our journey.

Opening Prayer: Gracious and compassionate God, the warmth of your forgiveness and love melts the stubbornness of our frozen hearts. In your loving design, all are invited, all are welcomed, the banquet is spread. You are the beginning and the end of our journey; may our footsteps not falter. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Scripture Sharing: What thought, line or image from the Scripture readings caught your attention?

Reflection: The story of the Forgiving Father contains all the crucial elements of living the Gospel reality: our egocentric ingratitude in the face of the abundance of God, a God who has always seen in us the reflection of his goodness, and the nagging unanswered question about who's in and who's out at the final banquet. Today's readings are all about potential and hope. A loving father yearns for the day when all will realize their proper place at the table, the truth that no matter what has been in the past, the future belongs to hearts that turn to and live for God and each other.

Are you still out squandering your inheritance? Still scraping the bottom, wallowing in the depths of nothingness? Faltering, stumbling on your way back to the Father, clinging to your vision of yourself as a hired hand and not a beloved child? Or, perhaps, you are the "good son or daughter" who has always been dutifully obedient while all the while harboring a subtle resentfulness? Good news is here! God's welcome awaits us no matter where we are.

Faith Sharing

1. Which spot in the parable marks your place? Where are you headed?

2. When has God come running in welcome and joy to you in your life?

3. When have you been the welcome and joy of God for another?

Action Response: How are you "summoned to serve"?

1. Compose a prayer you might say as your journey brings you face to face with God, your Father.

2. Reflect on how "hitting the bottom" has been a turning point in your spiritual journey.

3. With a friend or alone, compose an ending to our story. What happens with the elder son? The younger son? What does the father do?

Closing Prayer

(Individuals offer their intentions to bring to prayer.)

God of gentle compassion, beyond all that we hope or imagine, you await us in hopeful expectation and eager longing. Help us find our way home to you in the light of Jesus, your Son. May we find joy in your presence with the company of the saints and all our brothers and sister. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

(Mattice is a member of Holy Rosary Parish, Kewaunee, and the Diocesan Writing Team for Faith Sharing Sessions, 2001.)

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