Fourth Sunday of Lent 2022
“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.”
~ Luke 15:31-21
Brothers and Sisters,
It’s easy to understand how the younger, disobedient son, in the Parable of the Merciful Father, more commonly known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, needs his father’s mercy. After all, unlike his consistent and responsible older brother, the younger brother has been living recklessly. After squandering his fortune on worldly pursuits, he’s returning home penniless, hoping his dad might hire him to work as a servant in his childhood home. When instead, his father celebrates his return; this expression of radical forgiveness to the estranged son is especially apparent. Still, Jesus wants us to focus on the abundant mercy the father extends to both his boys. It is mercy the father offers and an example of how to accept and offer forgiveness when he seeks out his angry and injured older son, so he might begin to restore the relationship with his younger brother.
God, our loving Father, wants the same for his children as any other parent. For them to love and be loved, forgive and be forgiven, and live safe and fulfilling lives that reflect a commitment to Jesus. Still, parents reading this can attest that raising children and keeping them safe in the digital information age isn’t so simple. While valuable debates exist on how best to do so, new technologies offer possibilities to ensure peace and security; still, our digital devices might inadvertently allow evil into our homes.
Digital technology and its seemingly infinite potential to make us more productive, connected, and entertained in personalized and creative ways is undoubtedly appealing. But as we become more dependent on our tech devices, we may be less likely to guard against their harmful effects, like potential exposure to online pornography. The “Adult Entertainment Industry” is well funded and innovative. They often lobby under “First Amendment” free speech and code digital innovations to reach new “customers” so they can increase their audience and profits. As a result, younger and younger children are falling prey to the pornography industry’s digital reach.
Parents must become knowledgeable on how to protect their kids. This Safe Haven Sunday, we are offering a resource for families called Confident: Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure, with that goal in mind. This short book aims to educate parents about the dangers of harmful online exposure, how to establish good practices and accountability when using digital devices, and ways to initiate meaningful and appropriate conversations with their kids. Physical copies are available at all weekend Masses, and after sharing a valid email at learn.covenanteyes.com/confident, the digital ebook version can be downloaded for free.
In addition to these efforts, I encourage you to take the free Safe Digital Family Challenge by texting “Secure” to 66866. After digitally opting in, participants receive one email a day for seven days with information on the latest parental control ideas, like YouTube Restricted Mode, understanding Apps, settings device screen time and content restrictions, and establishing Social Media accountability for teens.
Parents and grandparents alike, thank you for working with us, as together we create parishes, homes, and neighborhoods that are truly Safe Havens, places where children can safely grow, learn, and realize their God-given purpose.
In the Crucified Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett