Luke 15:1‑3, 11‑32
He welcomes sinners and eats with them.
Parable of the prodigal son.
(see also Saturday of the Second Week)
The first thing that is needed is some of that mystical wine of repentance which takes away that lethargy and invigorates our souls anew. "You have allowed your people to suffer, to drink a wine that makes us reel." As a result, in accordance with our need, once we are repentant and contrite of conscience, we find ourselves again on the road that leads to Paradise, and how too does it spur us with hope! There is also the urgent need that we feel for the heavenly bread and mystical wine of your holy and divine love. It offsets the dejection into which we could so easily fall were it not for you, O Lord, who propitiously supply us with nourishment. It is that very same nourishment that produces cheerfulness and gives rise to courage to follow the road to the mountain of perfection. Therefore, the Psalmist said: "Wine to make them cheerful, oil to make them happy and bread to make them strong." Yet, the nearer we get to our beloved home, heaven, the more necessary it is to grow strong in merit and rich in works before God. It is on this account that the dear Lord preserves for us special drinks of the choicest wines.
This is a Sunday marked by the word "Laetare." We rejoice in more than the mid-point of a forty day fast. The joy of this day is that Jesus has reconciled sinners and invited them to the Eucharistic Feast. The first reading celebrates the joy of coming to the promised land. The Second reading celebrates the joy of becoming a new creation in Christ. The Gospel tells the story of a large feast for a whole village marked for Joy. Fatted calves are not for small family affairs; there would be too much wasted. Reconciliation is a public celebration.
St Gaspar reflects on the journey home marked by repentance and contrition. This leads us directly to the Lord who showers us with the gifts of the heavenly feast to give us strength and life so that we might continue the journey. The banquet bestowed on the prodigal has all the marks of this joyful Eucharistic feast. He has prepared for us his choicest wines. This is the cup of the new and eternal covenant, poured out for all so that sins may be forgiven.
- How is my heart made ready for Joy?
- How would I describe the promised land?
- What is the story of how the Lord has reconciled me?
 Ps 60:3
 Ps 104:15
 from Fifth Circular Letter, 1831