Wednesday 16 January 2019

Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent

In the English language, black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family. The black sheep is the odd one out, whether he's a disgrace to the family or just doesn't seem to belong. The origin of the phrase comes from the rare presence in a flock of white sheep of a sheep with black fleece. For some families, a child who is a black sheep is seen as a bane and a burden of parents. Some parents may even resort to renouncing relationship with that child; while others may resort to punishment which may actually be just a way of venting out their frustrations on the child.

In today's Gospel, we come across another black sheep, the younger son. In the Gospel, the father gave in to his younger son's request for his share of the inheritance, but yet further on in the parable, we hear of the father waiting and looking out for him to return. The younger son came to his senses because he recalled how kindly his father treated his servants, and that was enough for him to return home to his father. Instead of seeing the younger son as a bane or a burden, the father was so happy to see his younger son again, and took him back to the household.

What does this mean for us? It means that even a black sheep is still welcomed back when he or she comes to his or her senses and wants to return. It also means that when we come across the odd one, the black sheep, the sinner, let us be the reflection of God's love to that person. May we be merciful, loving and forgiving to others, even when it comes to black sheep, just as God is merciful, loving and forgiving towards us.

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