Our worst sins are never greater than God’s loving forgiveness to all who turn back to Him
Reflections on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 31, 2019): JOS 5:9,10-12; PS 34:2-3,4-5,6-7; 2 COR 5:17-21; LK 15:1-3,11-32
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Rejoice! On this Fourth Sunday of Lent also known as Laetare Sunday for the Latin word for rejoice we are more than halfway through the penitential season.
This day is an opportunity to appreciate our need for conversion of heart – and to celebrate the mercy of God that calls us home to Himself. The Gospel reading could not be more apt: it is the Parable of the Prodigal Son. If we think of a prodigal as a wastrel, both reckless and wasteful, that certainly describes the younger son of the story. On the other hand, if we see prodigality as being excessively extravagant, we may well view the loving father in that light. The young man is so focused on his selfish desires, he demands the inheritance he would normally receive at his father’s death. He receives it and proceeds to squander it completely in a foolish, dissipate lifestyle. Left with no money, friends, or even food, he goes home. While the desperate young man cannot believe that his father will treat him as his son any longer, he hopes to be accepted as a servant. “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. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’” (Luke 15:20-21)
The younger son’s sorrow is still more for himself than for the disrespectful way he treated his father. Yet the forgiving father is still overwhelmed with joy at his return. Jesus wanted all His listeners – and all His people – to better understand the immense depth of God’s love for all who return to Him. The compassion of Almighty God is always waiting for those who seek His generous mercy – whether we deserve it or not.