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"I will break away and return to my father." —Luke 15:18
The prodigal son sinned when he did not honor his father. He insulted his father by asking for his inheritance before his father's death (Lk 15:12). Then he entangled himself further in sin. He left home and squandered his money because of selfish pleasure-seeking (Lk 15:13) and possibly sexual lust (Lk 15:30). This led to impoverishment and slavery (see Lk 15:14-15). Sin leads to sin, which results in emptiness. We are tempted to compensate for this emptiness by more sin, which results in more emptiness. It is humanly impossible to extricate ourselves from sin's increasing entanglement, which inevitably leads to despair, death, and damnation. We can become so entangled in sin that we hang ourselves spiritually. It is not mere trivia that Judas, Jesus' betrayer, ended his life by hanging himself (Mt 27.5).
Immediately, let us make a Lenten Confession and ask Jesus, Who was "hanged on a tree" (Gal 3:13), to untangle us before we get so tangled that we hang ourselves. Only Jesus "is an Offering for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world" (1 Jn 2:2). If Jesus, the Son of Man, frees us from the entanglement of sin, we are free indeed (Jn 8:36). As Jesus leads us to the Father (Jn 14:6) and baptizes us in the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8), we will be able to reject all of Satan's works. We will be baptized in repentance (Mk 1:4) and be freed from the entanglements of sin.
Prayer: Father, if I play with sins any more, I may unknowingly make a noose. Untangle me now. Help me to "lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to" me (Heb 12:1).
Promise: "Who is there like You, the God Who removes guilt and pardons sin?" —Mi 7:18
Praise: St. Patrick's evangelization of Ireland was so powerful and effective that even today, festivities are held in honor of his life. Patrick prayed that when people speak of him, they would be prompted to think of Christ. May all who honor St. Patrick today come to know Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 18, 2000