Reading Reflections Fourth Sunday of Lent Gospel C

By 10:52 AM

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." So to them Jesus addressed this parable: "A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them.


The Son was basically saying I can’t wait until you die. I want my inheritance, which is not mine by right yet, now. As far as I am concerned, you are dead to me as a father. Given this, the love of the father is beyond measure. This is foolishness on the part of the father.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

How often have we done the same with our inheritance as a son or daughter of God through our personal sins?
When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."’

He recognized that he did not deserve to be treated as a son because of what he had done. Because of his sins he lost sight of his true identity, even though the father was still father.
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.

The foolishness of the father is evident. First, he allowed his son to disrespect him by giving him the inheritance as if he was dead. Second, he runs to the son and embrace him when he should have waited for the son to crawl back to him and beg him to restore him.
His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’

The foolish father does not wait for the son to ask his forgiveness. Calling him father again was enough. The foolish father restores him as son and lavishes his blessings and gifts upon him.
How often has God done the same and more for us? Even if our repentance is imperfect, even if we may sin again, God forgives and restores us to our dignity as sons and daughters because of his great love and mercy.

Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

Have we been self-righteous at times in the past? Have we complained that we are not treated by God like others are?
He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’"

How do we apply this parable to our life? When have we been the father, the younger son or the elder son?                    What is the grace God is offering us at this moment?

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