Scripture: Lectionary 33. Fourth Sunday in Lent (C). Joshua 5:9,10-12. Psalm 34:2-3,4-5, 6-7. II Corinthians 5:17-21. Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Our journey through Lent is more than half over and today’s readings are very encouraging. They prompt us to have a great finish to our Lenten travels in Scripture, Sacraments, and Prayer. We are spurred on “to never give up.”
In our first reading from Joshua we are reminded of the Passover and its institution on Mount Sinai. We are told that it is to be celebrated each year in the homes of the Israelites on the fourteenth of Nisan. This prepares us for our own celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus that soon will take place as we move closer to Holy Week. Our freedom from Egypt is seen in Baptism, while the Israelites celebrate the great historical even of their liberation from Egypt.
Psalm 34 urges us to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” We do this through the Eucharist where Jesus is the manna come down from heaven to nourish our souls. The Eucharist with its Scriptural readings is the main road on our journey to Easter.
In II Corinthians, St. Paul exhorts us to be reconcilers through our union with Christ. Reconciliation has a distinct meaning in the New Testament: it means being in friendship with God and leading others to be in that friendship. We are restored to that friendship whenever we are reconciled with the other person who has something against us or we having something against that person. We are urged to take the initiative in this great act of reconciling one another so that we can be in the friendship of God.
We have heard the parable of the Prodigal Son very recently. It is chosen for this Sunday as part of the Scrutinies for those entering the Church this coming Easter Vigil. It, too, is a story of reconciliation within a family. The Father of the family is the reconciler. The two sons need to be in friendship with the Father as well as with one another. I think it does take place, though the parable does give us the end result of the Father’s efforts at reconciling both. His words are rather compelling at the end to lead the elder brother to be reconciled first with his Father and then with his brother. The other younger brother is not necessarily the better of the two brothers. He had blatantly offended the Father and needed to come to his senses, that is, grow up and realize how much the Father loved him more than his need to return to a comfortable life. There is a lesson for us in the portrayal of both brothers. Reconciliation itself has many modes and takes place with different persons on different occasions in our life. We are all asked to return to the Father and to be mature in our relationship with one another. This demands trust as well as transparency with one another. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.