Fourth Sunday of Lent

Jos 5:9a, 10-12
2 Cor 5:17-21
Lk 15:1-3, 11-32


The theme for the readings this Sunday is reconciliation. In the first reading the Israelites have reconciled with God and are now ready to enter the Promised Land. In the second reading Paul clearly calls us to reconciliation when he states, ”Brothers and sisters: whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation…”

The gospel reading provides us with the famous parable of the Prodigal Son. This is the story of a loving father who always forgives and shows love to his children. It tells us about a son who doesn’t care about anything except himself and takes his inheritance, wastes it and then comes home. It tells us about the older brother who has always been faithful but is now filled with resentment because the father loves and forgives his son who wasted everything. The parable, it seems to me, should be called the Forgiving Father who welcomes his foolish son home and forgives him for all his mistakes. He wants to reconcile with his lost som. The father is the one who resembles who our loving God is for us. The parable shows the depth of God’s mercy and love for us, regardless of what mistakes we may have made.

Reconciling with God when we have missed the mark in being committed Christians is essential to returning to friendship with God. We have been taught, and learned through experience, that God always loves us, is always present to us, is always seeking a deep relationship with us. It is we who sometimes do not respond to or return that love to God. We need to reconcile with God.

Paul reminds us that we have a mission of reconciliation. Lent is a good time to reconcile with anyone who has hurt us or who we have hurt in any way. The forgiving father of the parable can be our model.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is traditionally called Laetare Sunday. Laetare is a Latin word that means rejoice. God’s great love for us, revealed to us in Jesus, is certainly reason to rejoice. It is a time for us to renew or deepen our relationship with God who loves and forgives us at all times.  

Who or what situation in your life needs reconciliation? What will you do about it?

What helps you to believe in God’s deep love for you?

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