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The Alphabet of Life – Letter R

R for Return

Returning… THE return
The return that the period of Lent proposes to us.
It is one of the important themes of this special season.

An inspiring text of Luke’s gospel describes the journey to which we are invited.
The parable is well known to us – it is the one entitled: The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

The familiar story points out that, having squandered all his heritage, the young man finds himself without any resources.
He regrets bitterly all that he used to enjoy in his Father’s house.
It is then that the turnaround takes place!
The text says clearly: “He came to his senses”. Or, “He returned to himself”.

“He came to his senses, he said,
‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare,
and here I am starving to death! 
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 
I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
make me like one of your hired servants’.”

Having returned to himself, he decides to return to his father.
The welcome that awaits him goes far beyond what he could have anticipated – a feast, yes,
but more still the renewed relationship with his father in the manner of the Father whom Jesus evokes.

“While he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him”.

It is precisely this Father – the Father of Jesus – who awaits OUR return.
The return from… our self-complacency,… our obstinacy… our hypocrisy…

We have first to return to ourselves…
Then, step by step, to set out on the road which will bring us back ‘home’ – to HIM.

Source: Image: Free Bible Images

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter K

K pour kilometers

The word ‘kilometer’ is not found in the texts of the gospel.
But… Jesus has surely travelled hundreds of them in his life!

We constantly see him on the road to some place:

  • on the road to Bethany (Luke 10:38);
  • on the road to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51);
  • on the road to Emmaus (Luke24:13-32).

 John, the apostle, shows him leaving Judaea for Galilee – a journey of some 112 kilometers (John 4:3).

As for Luke, he reveal to us: “Jesus went through every city and village, preaching…” (Luke 8:1).

When people try to keep him at a certain place, he replies:
 “Let us go somewhere else to the nearby villages so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38).

All that moving about, all the distance covered, all the trips throughout Palestine, all these have a deep message for me.
They give me to discover… God – the God of Jesus Christ!

A God who comes to us, a God who reaches us where we are…

He had already started in Bethlehem, the place of his birth.
His parents, Mary and Joseph, had to leave Nazareth and made the journey up to that place.
God has come to us, he has become one of us, and he has shared our travelling existence!

Since then, he walks with us and accompanies us on our paths –paths of joy, paths of sorrow –
he has had the experience of them.
He remains the faithful companion, always present on the road of our earthly pilgrimage…


Source: Image: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Year A – 2023

When joining a group of people, it is always interesting to notice what the people present are doing.
A little like the actors in a scene, their actions and reactions to one another can reveal much to us.

The readings of the texts of the Bible can somehow do the same.
It is especially true of the texts of the gospels.


Today’s feast presents us with the gospel of the visit of the shepherds to the new-born Child in Bethlehem.

The narrative tells us (Luke 2:16-21):

The shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby.
They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed.
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.”


The text speaks of:

– haste to find something and discovering…
– sharing with others this discovery…
– treasuring and pondering…
– glorifying and praising God…

Could this not be for us the plan of the new year about to unfold?

  • Discovering the meaning of our human existence, discovering God in our day-to-day lives…
  • Sharing with others what we have perceived of God’s presence…
  • Treasuring this gift of a new understanding, keeping on reflecting…
  • Glorifying and praising God for all that he reveals to us of himself, of ourselves…

A promising travel plan… for a hopeful journey…


Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at:


Source: Image: Adam Hamilton

2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B – 2021

Thomas, the apostle, has been blamed and praised probably in equal measure!
We meet him in the second part of today’s gospel (Jn.20:19-31).
It is obvious that he could speak his mind and was not easily influenced by other people.

His companions tell him that they have seen Jesus, yes, the Lord who is risen.
To Thomas, what the other apostles claim is simply impossible, it cannot be.
He will not accept such a thing, they are dreaming.
To him, his friends are mistaken, they take their hopes for reality.
Thomas tells them clearly:

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
and put my finger in the mark of the nails,
and my hand in his side,
I will not believe.”
One week goes by…
One week of denying… questioning himself… weighing possibilities…
Recognizing the impossibility… and then…

Recognizing the Lord himself!
A recognition that expresses itself in words that Christians have been repeating for centuries.
“My Lord and my God!”
From disbelief to adoration!

Thomas’ journey… which could be mine…


Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at:

Thomas introduces himself in the following video at:


Source: Image: Twitter St. Mary’s School

Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, Year A – 2020

Repeatedly, and in many ways, poets and prophets have said it: LIFE IS A JOURNEY.
The beginning of a new year is, somehow, a reminder of this.
Of course, a journey means setting out and being on the move.

Today’s gospel, on the Feast of Epiphany (Mt.2:1-12) illustrates this very clearly.
We see three men on the way, they have set out towards… the unknown.
Ready for whatever the journey has in store for them:
Joyful surprises, painful circumstances, threatening obstacles, suspicious encounters…
There may be moments of darkness, periods of questioning – it is all part of the journey.

Being on the move – we are!
So often running here and there, rushing, hurrying, always on the go.
But… a journey must have… a goal.
Setting out is meant to be towards a destination.

Moving for the sake of moving is not being on a journey.
We may be caught in a frenzy of perpetual movement but this cannot bring to a definite place –
the place we are longing to reach – that of happiness, peace of mind and heart, true serenity.

So, perhaps today’s feast reminds us that, at the beginning of a year still new,
we need to see clearly the destination we want to reach…
the place where we want to find ourselves… at the end of the year.

Or, at the end of our journey on this earth…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


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4th Sunday of Lent, Year C – 2019

“When he came do his senses…”  (Lk.15:11-32)

Herding pigs, for a Jew, was a shameful occupation.
To a Jew faithful to the prescriptions of the Law, these animals were considered ‘impure’.
And there he was, minding pigs for the owner who did not even give him a share of the food the pigs were eating.
Could he go any lower?

He had left with his small fortune thinking it would last much longer.
But he had enjoyed it to the full until… it was all spent – nothing left even to survive.
He was hungry and there was a famine in the country so not much food around
let alone sympathy for someone like him!

Illusion, denial, escapism, – all the modern vocabulary could apply.
He needed to real-ize what he had done, what he had become, to see himself for real!
He had not much choice but to come out of his dream-like adventure and face his present situation.

It is somehow surprising that as he ‘comes to his senses’, he thinks first of all
of the fair salary and the privileged condition of the workmen employed by his father.
He remembers how life could be good at home if he had been willing to notice it.
But he seems still unaware of where this goodness came from.

He has yet to discover, to understand something of his father’s love.
For this, he must set on the return journey.
He has known need and regret, he must still experience the tenderness and forgiveness of his father.

This period of Lent gives us the same opportunity of a return journey…
if only we, too, ‘come to our senses.’
Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:
And, in a short video, France Doucet shares with us her insight into this parable at:

One can also look at:

Source: Image: