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This week’s contribution is from Mark Dol, Coordinator of

Youth Ministry and Confirmation

Pastor’s Corner

Come Back to Me With All Your Heart!

Throughout our Lenten season we hear a clear presentation of the History of Salvation, an account that recalls the
abundance of God’s mercy for his people. Have you ever thought of how you would react if you had been one of the
Israelites walking in the desert in the times of Moses and were able to witness God working those great signs and
wonders? Have you ever thought why they seemed not to learn from these experiences? Why were they so stubborn
of heart?

I am sure that some of us have said to ourselves, “if only I experienced God in that way, or had seen him work those
miracles I would be able to follow after God with my whole heart”. I remember some time ago pondering and
reflecting on this very situation and God showed me how stubborn I could be. He also showed me the many times I
doubted even in the midst of Him working marvelous things in my life. I realized I was no better than the Israelite
People in the Desert. This is why we should be in awe of God’s great love and mercy for each one of us. He never
gave up on the Israelites and He surely will not give up on us either.

God’s Love and Mercy is the very reason why we need Lent. It is in this special time of year that God personally
invites us to come back to Him. The Church presents this invitation each year without fail; it is the same invitation
that is illustrated in the story of the prodigal son.

The prodigal son is an important ICON for us on our Lenten journey; he is a mirror of each one of us, for we have all
tasted the fullness of the Father’s house yet find ourselves chasing after what we think are better things.
Unfortunately, these so called “better things” are only mere illusions and more often than not lead us further into
darkness. Yet like the prodigal son, when we finally come to our senses God always gives us the possibility to turn
180 degrees and come back to Him. As we return back to God we realize that we are met with the waiting arms of a
Father who loves us without reserve. I believe that what is most incredible in this story is not that the son returned
home, but that the Father was actively waiting for him to return. Not only did he wait, but he was watching out for
him every day and when he finally saw him coming he ran to greet him, threw his arms around him, hugged him,
kissed him and reinstated him to the status of son. He did not stop there; he dressed his son in the finest robes, put
new sandals on his feet and celebrated his return with a great feast. This is what God does to each one of us when
we return to Him; He greets us, loves us without reserve and gives us the status of His son or daughter, and heir to
His inheritance. WOW!

Sometimes in life we turn away from God in the moments we need Him most. Times of hardship, disillusionment and
pain can often make us think God has abandoned us. Sometimes we are not able to understand situations and
experiences, especially in the midst of those moments. It has been Patricia’s and my experience that in the midst of
sufferings and difficulties God is there and He uses those situations to teach us something important for our lives. We
have found that if He wants to teach us, then He is committed to being there with us through it all. The Scripture
verse of Romans 8:28 rings true: “God will work all things out for the good of all those who love him.”

This very reality is very much echoed in a song we often sing in our small community. It is a song that talks about
how we should bless the Lord’s Holy Name no matter what life’s circumstances bring. “In a land that is plentiful,
where streams flow with abundance or in times when I find myself in the desert, walking through the wilderness, I
WILL BLESS YOUR NAME”. This is also the theme that carries us through our Lenten journey, for Lent is a time when
we are encouraged to stop and reflect on where we are with God, and if we have strayed from His side we are called
to come home with the beautiful words, “COME BACK TO ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART.”

If this is what Lent is all about, let us journey together through this time with excitement, joy and hope, for we have
a God who loves us with the heart of a Father and the tenderness of a Mother. We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who
gave everything so that we may receive the inheritance that is fullness of life in HIM.

God bless you in this Lenten Season,