“This Is Where I Belong” By Jan Pepino, Fiat Ventures

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

Have you ever wanted to say something, but couldn’t find the right words to say? Sometimes you might experience something so extreme, the resulting feelings are so immense that it becomes difficult to communicate in words. Or maybe you’re just not the type of person who can eloquently express yourself. I’m definitely the latter. There are moments though where I get to express myself wholeheartedly, without having to say anything at all.

For the past several weekends, I’ve been to different Churches to play music during eucharistic adoration. I sang some songs, but the moments that really moved me deeply were the ones where I got just to play my guitar in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In those moments, I felt like I didn’t need to say anything at all, but just to be in his presence. All of a sudden, it wasn’t so hard to express myself. More than that, I felt that I didn’t need to say or do anything at all. Just being there with him and knowing that he was there with me was enough.

This week’s Gospel is one that we’ve heard multiple times before and is one of the more widely known parables. Though it’s so common, God always speaks to me in different ways every time I encounter it. This time, I found myself reflecting on how the younger son must have felt after making the decision to return to his father. I’m sure he felt ashamed about the things he has done, but it’s his humility that stuck out to me the most.

What I found so moving was that he had a hope and even a trust that on some level his father would take him back, even if that was just to be treated as one of the servants. And his father of course forgave him on a level beyond his wildest dreams – the father loves him just as he is, and even cuts him off during his rehearsed speech of repentance. Just like in Adoration when I was praying and felt that I didn’t even need to say or do anything other than be in God’s presence.

The son also comes to the understanding that he needs to forgive himself for what he has done. So many times, I find myself struggling, not because I don’t believe that God with forgive me, but because I can’t forgive myself for the things I have done. I find it hard to accept that even when I try my best, I still fall short and fall back into sin. Let’s face it, no one has an easy time accepting that they’ve made mistakes. And that’s why this Gospel moves me so much.

In the second reading, St. Paul mentions that God didn’t count our trespasses against us, but instead entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. God knows of our tendency to sin, but he still accepts us anyway and chooses to continually forgive us. He mentions that if we believe in Christ, we are made new and that the old things have passed away. So, if God, who created me and gave me purpose can forgive me, why can’t I?

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