One June 11, the feast of Saint Barnabas, I went to the animal shelter. I was not looking
for the cutest kitten or the friendliest cat. I was on a specific mission. Since my gift is to
love any kind of cat, I was interested in one who was not easily adoptable. I looked at the
kittens and cats up for adoption and then I asked a question of the attendant who was
feeding them. "Is there one here who is having a really hard time getting adopted?" The
answer was immediate. "Yes. This one." Gus was a little roly-poly tabby kitten. "What is
I am so happy to see you this morning. How are you? (children may respond)
Let's play a game I call “Lost and Found.” Okay? (children respond)
(presenter role plays) Uh, oh, I lost something for today's message. Hmm, I wonder where it could be. It's a box like this. (shows approximate dimensions) (instruct the children to look around the immediate area) (then presenter or child finds it)
Since the Fourth Sunday in Lent has been historically identified as Laetare (Rejoicing Sunday), it is most appropriate that the lessons collectively testify to a theme for which we can rejoice — God saves us by his grace!
In this familiar and well-loved story of the Prodigal Son, I often wonder what happened to the mother of the family. She's totally ignored. So are any daughters. It seems like a completely male stronghold. So much so that I wonder whether perhaps the mother had died some years previously, and that was the cause of much of the unhappiness displayed by both the father and the sons. Or whether the father was such a domineering character that his wife played no real part in family life, but simply bowed her head in compliance with all his wishes, no matter how extreme they were.