Fourth Sunday in Lent (27 March 22)

GOSPEL:  Luke 15:1-3, 11b – 32 :  THE  STORY  OF  THE  PRODIGAL SON

This parable was told to the Pharisees by Jesus after they complained that He welcomed and ate with sinners.  How often have we not been guilty of behaving in a similar manner?  In this parable we too are challenged to search in our hearts for the way in which we judge others.

Both Jesus and the father in this story are generous in their attitude towards the repentant sinner.

The son’s request to be given his part of the father’s estate was granted.   There was no scolding, warning or reprimanding, instead the father granted the younger son his request.

After a few days, the younger son departed and began an independent life in another country.   There he enjoyed life to the full and wasted the inheritance until he had no means of stilling his hunger. Sometimes we too have to ‘hit rock bottom,’ before we eventually come to our senses.

Eventually the younger son came to his senses and decided to go back to his father, despite the fact that he felt ashamed about the way in which he had squandered the inheritance.   In his desperate state, he rehearsed how he would approach his father.  He had become very much aware of his sinfulness, and so decided to return home.   The father was delighted when he saw his son and immediately prepared a feast for him.

The eldest son, however was full of resentment and could not accept the way his father received the younger son.  We, too should search in our hearts for the times when we resented the way another was treated despite his/her failings.

The father’s loving response on the return of the younger son, was remarkable.

When we pray the following words of the Our Father:
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us

A commentary on this part of the “Our Father” in a Reflection by Hearers of the Word, states:

“Pardon is free from God – but it is truly “ours” only when we pardon in return.”

Let us commit ourselves to forgive those who trespass against us and be children of our Loving Father.  Amen

Jacinta Teixeira, OP


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