Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26 I cannot begin to number the Sundays as a young mother that I arrived for Mass disheveled and discombobulated, having spent all morning corralling my children. Oddly, I would long for those days once my children reached young adulthood and stopped attending Mass. Then, I would arrive at Mass angry and disappointed. What had I failed to do as a parent to help them remain faithful? I’d won the weekly battle in getting them to Mass, but clearly I was losing the spiritual war. Although those Sunday mornings were a struggle, I knew the importance of my family attending the weekly liturgy. I knew regardless of how we arrived, the grace of being with the Lord would touch their hearts. Once there, even if they were distracted, we’d provided the Lord an opportunity to touch our hearts, merely being in His presence. It has been painful watching my children spurn the faith I adore. Gratefully, I have seen the return of one prodigal. Not only did he begin attending Mass, but sweetly, came out of altar serving retirement to assist his sister, who is deaf, fulfill her dream of serving Mass. Today's scripture reminds us to go and first make peace before coming to the altar. This includes making peace with myself and with my children’s choices, even if they are breaking my heart. It is their journey with Christ, who loves them infinitely more than I can even imagine. I now come to Mass prayerfully seeking the Lord’s grace, for myself and my children. Encouraged by my youngest son’s return to the faith, I will bring my Sunday morning battle to the altar with prayer. And in the words of today’s Psalm, “I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD.”


Do you know someone who has left the Catholic faith? Are you holding disappointment or anger towards them? What can you do to allow peace back into that situation, so as to be prepared to confidently approach the altar of grace?


Lord, the battle for souls is real. The enemy prowls not just the world, but our very homes, seeking souls to devour. Lord, take my faithful devotion as recompense for the many prodigals, wandering but never lost from Your sight.
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