Sunday Reflection | Fourth Sunday of Lent | Fr. David Barnes - Saint John's Seminary
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Forming Ministers of His Mercy | Sunday Reflection | Fourth Sunday of Lent | Fr. David Barnes

March 26, 2022

Dear Friends in Christ:

Recently I messaged a man whose wedding I celebrated about a year ago, just to check in on him and his wife. He messaged back, “I’m great, but very tired! We are celebrating the one-month anniversary of our daughter’s birth!” He went on to tell me that the birth of his daughter has reawakened his own faith in God.

I see something similar happen each day at Saint John’s Seminary. As the men here submit themselves to the work of the Holy Spirit, they come to taste what it means to be spiritual fathers. Like that young husband and new father, the seminarians at Saint John’s grow in wonder and awe at the incredible things that God is doing within them.

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we once again hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Perhaps the parable would more aptly be named, “The Parable of the Merciful Father.” What an overwhelming privilege and joy it is to know that each of us is looked upon with tenderness and mercy by our Heavenly Father!

As young men are formed to be priests at Saint John’s, we hope that they experience this incredible look of the Heavenly Father upon them. It is in becoming more convinced of this gaze upon our life that we are then able to be icons of the merciful Father to the people of today’s world. The world is so desperately in need of mercy. Men and women today are starving to be looked upon with Mercy. At Saint John’s Seminary, God is forming priests to be ministers of His Mercy.

As I look at these sons and future fathers of the Church, I too am filled with wonder and gratitude for the way our Heavenly Father loves us. God is doing something so beautiful in the lives of these seminarians. How beautiful it is to think that their whole lives will be spent communicating to every person they encounter, the merciful gaze of a true father.