Parish Cells System of Evangelisation
27th International Seminar
Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, Milan, Italy
19th to 22nd May 2016
XXVII International Seminar
19-22 May 2016
"Merciful like the Father"
Don Pigi Perini
Dear brothers and sisters,
After the words of Paolette, with which we relived the milestones
of our history, we have chosen to start this 27th Seminar
reflecting on the words that were chosen as the "motto" for this
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy:
"Merciful like the Father".
In these days, that we will spend together, we will have the
opportunity to experience the Mercy of God for each of us, and
so also become announcers and promoters.
Right now, I would like to re-echo the words that Pope Francis
addressed to us, the Missionaries of Mercy. 1071 people
chosen by him and gathered in Rome from around the world,
The Pope spoke to us emphasizing the joy of reconciliation, he
"Mercy has been said to be so many things, so many that you
have already heard, but what my heart wants to share with you is
above all the joy of mercy, the mercy of God a source of joy. "
In another homily on, February 10, 2016, the Pope pronounced
on the occasion of the Mandate to the Missionaries of Mercy to
us 1,071 poor and simple priests and monks, the Pope spoke
about the barriers that close the heart to the joy of God's Mercy.
"There may be some barriers that close the doors of the heart.
There is the temptation to lock the doors, that is, to live with his
sin, minimizing it, always justifying himself, thinking that he is not
worse than another; so, however, the soul locks and remains
locked in, a prison of evil.
Another obstacle is a reproach. When opening the secret door
of the heart there, is "Shame".it is a good sign, because it
indicates that we want detach ourselves from evil; however, we
must never become afraid or fear. And there is a third pitfall, to
move away from the door: it happens when we are holed up in
our misery, when constantly brooding, by linking the negative
things, sinking deeper into the dark cellars of the soul.
Then we become a family of sadness that we do not want. We
lose heart and we are weaker in the face of temptations. This
happens because we are alone with ourselves, shutting out and
running away from the light; while only the grace of the Lord frees
Let us then be reconciled.
We hear Jesus saying to the weary and oppressed "come me
"(Mt 11:28). Don not remain in yourself, but go to Him! There we
are refreshed and at peace ".
But let us remember that we are in "Joy", not only because, we
are forgiven by the Father, but also that we can give to God the
joy that is His, so that He, in turn, forgives. This joy of God in
forgiving is the original kernel of our faith.
An Italian biblical scholar (Mons. Galbiati) said: "We cannot give
God anything that is not already His: He is the master of
everything! Except for one thing; "giving him the joy of
So, awareness of this divine joy moves us to open ourselves
without hesitation to the love of God and to trust in Him, who
welcomes us as children, with a heart full of mercy.
On reading the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15.11 to 32,
and I invite you to follow the Bible, we find the joy to which God
the father invites us all, when he finds the lost son. "Now we
feast, because this son was lost and is found and they
To participate in this joy, two attitudes, however, are necessary:
1. share the forgiveness that the Father, prodigal in mercy, grants
the lost son;
2. accept the invitation to dinner organised to celebrate the return
of the lost son.
Indeed, he who does not accept as the older brother, the brother
who is a sinner, does not accept the "free" love of the Father and
therefore he is not son. It's like the older brother mentioned in
"The older brother became angry for the pardon granted to his
He who cannot forgive and share the joy of the Father is an
illusion, his petty justice, which knows only punish and remains
outside the banquet of joy and love.
Then, in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy, we accept the
invitation of Pope Francis, who, speaking of the Parable of the
Prodigal Son says: "Let us entrust ourselves totally to the Father.
Let us caress on our shoulders people on their knees, like the
Prodigal Son, from the hands of the Father, whose paternal love
addresses each of us as a mercy, that is, as love of God, on the
sinner, the weak, the needy. In this way we can experience the
joy of being loved by this God merciful and right".
Now, let's think of our Masses: every Eucharistic celebration may
represent for each of us, this banquet of love, to which the Father
invites each of his prodigal sons.
The festival begins with forgiveness asked, given and shared
with words: "Brethren, let us acknowledge our sins, and so
prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries"
The Eucharist is the act in which Jesus who died and rose again
It embraces forgiveness that makes us new creatures.
Jesus, offered to each one of us as the Bread of Life, causes us
to be embraced by the Father.
And, as the return of the prodigal son to the Father's house, was
not only the end of a disastrous human adventure, but was also
the beginning of a new life, so it is and will be for us, if kneeling,
at least with the heart and beating our breast, as a humble sign of
recognition of our sins, ask the Lord for forgiveness receiving
with it his Body and his Blood: this is the only way we will be able,
in turn, to give life to our brethren (cf.. 1 John 3:16) "For this is
how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone
who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life":
that is where Christian joy, the joy of love, flows.
Now, let us look more deeply, more closely at this parable: that
we might call the "Parable of the Prodigal Father", because it
strives in giving his mercy in abundance.
The parable begins: "A man had two sons."
We can see in these two sons representatives of all mankind that
It is divided into two categories:
1) that of sinners, as the younger son and
2) that of those who think they are righteous, as the eldest son.
So we are including everyone.
What may seem odd is that the prodigal son, the son who errs,
the son who leaves the house of his father, who squanders all his
goods, creates less problems than the son who has always
stayed at home. This eldest son, does not accept that the Father
(ie God) is love and mercy. Of course, both of these children
have in common the same father image of a demanding and
It clearly says the eldest son: "I served you for many years and I
have never disobeyed your orders". Man often imagines God as
a demanding father to serve, that He reduces our freedom with a
multitude of rules, orders, and prohibitions.
The younger son is rebellious, it is true, but at least calls him
"Father, give me the share of property that falls to me." And the
youngest son "Gathered all his belongings and set off for a
distant country", because he thought that far from God would he
What happens when you are away from God?
It is death, for God is life.
If God is fullness, far from him there is the void.
If God is joy, there is sadness away from Him.
If God is freedom, without Him there is slavery.
Then the parable of the prodigal son expresses the story of one
who believes that his creation is to go away from God. But, in this
quest for freedom away from his father, the younger son
dissipates, wasting all the treasures received: losing everything.
The history of mankind which being in the image and likeness of
God, far from Him, loses
the truth about itself. It becomes empty, poor.
Having hit rock bottom, the prodigal son, who squandered the
father's riches, comes to his senses and decides to go home. In
need, he comes to his senses and begins to reason. In himself,
he is not sorrowful it is only that he is hungry and says, "How
many of my father's hired servants have food to spare".
Still he believes he has lost the father's love.... But the Father
who is "Prodigal Love," He never stopped loving him. When his
son asks for forgiveness, he does not even say "lets talk about
His love precedes repentance and conversion; he offers him
garments with joy, rings, shoes, "Signs" of being a son and wants
us to celebrate the return of his son, who, overwhelmed by this
abundant mercy, finally understands that his father, not only has
always expected, but he always loved, even when he had
forgotten it, or perhaps hated.
And the Father is so filled with joy that he hosts a party because
he found his son, who has rediscovered his dignity as a child.
This merciful Father says: "Quick, bring the best robe and put it
The center of today's parable is not the sin, but the mercy of
God, that we may experience, especially in Confession. With this
sacrament we can, like the prodigal son, meet the blessing
embrace of the merciful Father. It is true that sometimes the
Confession was experienced as a court of prosecution rather
than a place of forgiveness.
It should be remembered that in this sacrament, the most
important thing is the blessing embrace of the merciful Father.
Too often we consider first the sin and then grace. Instead there
is first, the free, merciful and generous love of God, that receives
and re-creates. God does not stop in front of our sin or recoil in
front of our offenses, but runs towards us as the merciful Father
ran to the son coming home with sorrow and humility.
Mother of Mercy
This reflection would not be complete without a thought for the
Mother of Mercy, because mercy is a quality of love of the
mother, of Mary.
Mary spreads this mercy with a mother's love and grants it from
generation to generation, according to the plan of the Father, and
is intimately associated with the mystery of Christ and the
Church. Mary is the Mediatrix of mercy, refuge of mercy, the
"door" through which the believer comes to the divine Son, who
is the Son of a woman of Nazareth and brother to all of us that we
have become her children at the foot of Cross: Of course, the
Virgin of Nazareth received a fullness of great grace to meet the
unique mission that has been entrusted to her.
But God, in his willingness to consider the woman as his first ally,
grants to each woman the grace necessary to fulfil this role, so
that cooperation, while being free and personal, are always with
through the power received from above.
In Mary's case, cooperation is of an exceptional kind, because
that maternity was virginal.
But in each generation of humanity it requires the creative action
of God and therefore a parental cooperation of humanity with this
sovereign action. Collaborating with the divine omnipotence, the
woman receives from it her motherhood ..So the face of the
mother, especially when it is flooded by the Holy Spirit, as in
Mary, is a reflection of the face of the Father, which, to be full of
mercy, possesses in Himself, in infinite measure, the
characteristics of father and mother love.
May this double image of Jesus, and of His, and our, Mother,
always accompany you during this seminar and help us to enter
the merciful love of God, as we are invited to become its
announcers and promoters.