Homily Fourth Sunday of Lent Year C Reconciliation

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Homily Fourth Sunday of Lent Year C

Reading 1: What was the reproach of Egypt?  It was the rebellious heart of the people of God. For 40 years many of them grumbled and turned their hearts against God. Many of them died in the desert without seeing the promised Land.


Now the people have entered the land of plenty. They began their journey in Egypt with the celebration of the Feast of Passover, the Feast of their deliverance from physical bondage. They left Egypt. Now in the Promised Land, they celebrate the Feast of the Passover. They have been delivered from the bondage of a heart hardened against God. They finally come to a place of trust in God. They ate from the produce o the land. No longer did God had to provide manna for their survival.


The central message was that God delivered them, led them, purified them, provided for them and now fulfilled his promise to them.


As we look over our past journey since the time of our baptism when we were delivered from the bondage of Satan from Original Sin, what has God done for us? How often has he fed us with the Eucharist, the true bread from heaven? How often has he forgiven our sins when we turned away from him? How often has he provided for our many needs?  We come together today in this assembly to celebrate our Passover from death to life through the sacrifice of Jesus, our reconciler and redeemer. We come to give thanks, to renew our covenant with God, to hear his Word and to be nourished for the week ahead with the Bread of Life.


Gospel: In the Gospel, who is the father? God. Who are the two sons? Each of us. For like the sons we are sinners. What does the father seek to do? He is a reconciler. He reconciles the younger son to himself through unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness. He seeks to reconcile the elder son to himself by unconditional love and truth. The younger brother is still his brother, in spite of his sins. He needs forgiveness and acceptance, not condemnation and rejection.


Like the younger son, we have separated ourselves from the father and from the family. We have taken our inheritance, our relationship with God and squandered it for a life of sin. We are no different from Adam and Eve nor from all other sinners who have lived. We do not deserve anything but what we have become. Like the younger son, we are not even good enough to eat the food of the pigs.

Like the younger son we have many times returned to the father, ashamed and riddle with guilt and shame and full of self-condemnation.


Unknowing to us, the   Father has been waiting for us, not to punish or reject us      or to treat us as a slave. He is waiting for us to embrace and restore us to our rightful identity. What we failed to realize is that when we were baptized we became adopted sons and daughters of God. Nothing can delete that reality, even Hell itself.  It is because of this given identity that moves the father to embrace, kiss and restore his son with joyful celebration.


At the same time, we have been like the elder son, resentful and angry, condemning and judging others. We think that we are better and more deserving than others. Our sin is not physical but mental separation. The father reminds him that he is loved unconditionally. He calls him to do learn to do the same.


All of us are sinners before God. All of us are in need of mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Both the younger son and the elder one were focused on themselves. That was their sin. What is in it for me? The father was focused on them and not himself. Jesus through his death on the cross focused on us and not himself. The Father, who accepted Jesus’ death for our sake, focused on us.


Reading 2: Who is the central figure in this reading? Jesus. Whoever is in Christ is a new creation. Are we in Christ? Are we seeking to life in and with Jesus as the Lord of our lives? What is the old and what is the new? The old is our sinfulness. The new is our life in Christ.


We have been reconciled in Christ and through Christ. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection our sins have been forgiven and we have been restored and reconciled as a son or daughter of God. We must choose to be reconciled, to remain reconciled and to be ambassadors of reconciliation. This means that as God has forgiven our sins, so we must forgive others. As Jesus has said: The gift you have been given is the gift that is to be given to others. 

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