Recent Event
Parish Cells System of Evangelisation
27th International Seminar

Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, Milan, Italy

19th to 22nd May 2016
See Photogallery for images of the event (Click here)

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 said:

"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 us.

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 ourselves".

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 celebrated"

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 parable,
"The older brother became angry for the pardon granted to his younger brother."
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 is present.
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 strict father.

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":
"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 find happiness.

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 it".
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 on him".

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 you
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.