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SUNDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT

27TH MARCH 2022


Jos 5:9a.10-12, Ps 34:2-3.4-5.6-7, 2Cor 5:17-21, Lk 15:1-3.11-32


A CALL TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD


Lent, as both sets of readings for today present, is a time of Newness and Improvement. We are asked to be renewed and to improve our own lives personally and communally. The results of being willing to change and improve will lead to newness in ourselves, in our relationship with others, and in our relationship to God.

In the first reading, we see how God purified His people through trials and tribulations; through pain and suffering. In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminds his readers that they are new, and therefore should be improved, and that should lead to rejoicing. He makes an urgent appeal to the Corinthians to be reconciled to God in Christ.

The Gospel from St. Luke is the reassuring parable of the Prodigal Son. The characters are strong and vibrant. In this Gospel account, we see a loving father who always forgives, shows love, and never holds failings against his children. The father feels such joy in having his youngest son home again that he wants to celebrate and gives directions for a feast to be prepared in his honour. We also see a son who cares only about himself, takes his inheritance and wastes it, and then comes home. The older son, who has always been faithful, is now filled with resentment because the father lavishes his love on the son who wasted everything.

In one way or another, we recognize ourselves in each of the sons and therefore, we need to pray that we may be as loving and forgiving as the father. This is what it means to be reconciled to God: love all others regardless of what they have done. The father in this story is like God, our Father. He is merciful, and his love knows no end.

There are Five Important lessons from the parable:

1. We must never take for granted our family especially our parents. In time of need, it is to them that we turn to.

2. No matter how low we have fallen, we must always remember that God our Father in heaven is always ready to welcome and forgive us.

3. No man is an island. We need each other in life. The younger son can learn about faithfulness from the elder son. The latter can learn forgiveness, humility and acceptance from the former. The brothers need each other and therefore, they need to live in harmony.

4. Rejoicing should be part of the life of a disciple of the Lord Jesus. This feeling of joy should be part of the response of one who has accepted the gifts which come from God. This sense of delight should be both personal and communal and should lead to action. Each person who experiences the love which God has for him or her should be grateful to God.

5. Our rejoicing must be communal. We, unlike the older sibling in the parable, must rejoice whenever one of our sisters or brothers in the Lord Jesus returns and seeks to be reconciled to God. We should not complain when God makes a big thing about their return. We are called to celebrate the reunion of the repentant with our loving God.

We are all sinners. Whether your sins are more visible like those of the younger son or more hidden like those of the elder son, the message for us today is that we all need to repent and return to the father’s house. The younger son needs to turn back from his frivolous lifestyle and return to the father’s house and be a responsible and obedient son. The elder son needs to turn back from anger and resentment and learn to share the house with the apparently undeserving younger brother.

Lent is the moment for us to stop, sit down a little bit, and try to reflect on our own present situations as sinners. How sin was able to drag us down to our lowest dignity and placed us into a most embarrassing position. Sometime we have to feel the sadness and the emptiness within our hearts, in order to stand up and go back to the Father and say we are sorry. Only then we can really feel that loving embrace of our merciful Father again.

It is not a question of how many sins we committed or how grave our sins are. It is rather our own humility and our sincerity of saying sorry, that matters most. The gate of the father’s house is always open to those who want to come back and humbly say sorry.

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