Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, the second pre-Lenten Sunday. In the Latin Rite, it's Septuagesima, the first of only three pre-Lenten Sundays. It's also the first Sunday on which the Byzantine Rite adds this chant to Matins in the Divine Office:
Virtually all of today's young people follow in the footsteps of the Prodigal Son by squandering the gifts God gave them on worldly pursuits. Pray that they come home.
On the subject of "By the Waters of Babylon", while chanting it at Matins a thought occurred. Even though Psalm 136 is about great suffering, The "Alleluia" is still repeated often by the narrator in the text. "Alleluia" is a general term of praise (without any paschal connotations in the Eastern Churches, thus it is not ommited during Great Lent), yet it is repeated in a chant of such suffering. That gives us hope that even though we, like the psalmist, are suffering because of the sins of others (say some prodigal sons and daughters), our patient endurance of the suffering they inflict on us is a worthy penance for their conversion and return to the Love of God, not to mention the fact that enduring such suffering patiently for the sake of Divine Love is itself a great praise of Divine Love and a declaration of what it truly deserves.