Fourth Sunday of Lent
Joshua 5: 9a, 10-12
In the book of Joshua, we see the Israelites enter the Promised Land after a forty-year journey. They entered the Promised Land, celebrate the Passover for the first time there, and finally have nourishment from the land itself.
2 Corinthians 5: 17-21
Crucifixion and resurrection begin a new period of human history for Paul and his community in which guilt is wiped away through God’s mercy and Jesus’ obedience. Brothers and Sisters are reconciled with God as if they had never committed sin.
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
The parable of the Prodigal Son is unique to Luke’s Gospel. It is the last of three parables of mercy in Luke 15.
We have no idea to what extent the younger son is repentant for his actions.
The younger son greets his father respectfully “Father”.
The father, not the sons, is the central focus of this passage.
The father twice alludes to death and resurrection in relation to the younger son. This recalls Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection “was dead, and has come to life again”; “was lost and has been found”.
We may relate to one of the characters in the story, but the fruitful approach for Lent 2022 may be to discover ourselves in all three.
In Luke’s Gospel, both sons are called to transformation or what Paul calls a “new creation.” Ponder this theme of “transformation”. What transformation has taken place so far in your life, this Lenten journey? What about the “inward” transformation? What still needs to be transformed in your life and spiritual life to celebrate the resurrection and new life that this Gospel calls us to?
Why do you think the celebration of the first Passover in the Promised Land so significant to the people? How are Passover and the promised land important to us as Christians?
With today’s Gospel in mind, we recognize that in the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation the Father receives the repentant children who come back to Him. How do you receive those from whom you are estranged? What could you do this Lent to invite those who have left the house of the Church, to lead them back?
When have you acted like the older brother and hardened your heart toward someone who sought forgiveness? Pray for a softening of your heart this week. When have you needed mercy and found it? Say a prayer of thanks for that time. How do you close yourself off from the loving Father that Jesus presents here? How might you be open to the God Jesus reveals in this parable?