MY daily reflection and prayer:
Sunday, March 6, 2016
The Fourth Sunday of Lent
Dear my friends,
Here is the Gospel for us today according to St. Luke 15:1-3,11-32
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable:
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father.
But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.
“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
WE know that the parable of today’s Gospel is one of the best known stories in all of human literature. What does it really mean for us today when we read it as the Word of God?
We have meditated it on Saturday, February 27th, 2016. And again around one week later we read the same text today. On last Saturday, we focused on the father’s character of the parable represented our heavenly Father as the Best Merciful One. Although we always call it the parable of the prodigal son, but we can also call it the parable of the best merciful father. And he is God alone, our heavenly Father. This is the parable of the merciful father.
Today, let’s reflect on this same Gospel and focuse on the spiritual fact that God, our heavenly Father, is the only source of our mercy, forgiveness and happiness. It is why, the Sunday in which the Gospel proclaimed to us today is called “Laetare Sunday”. What is it?
“Laetare Sunday” is the popular name for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The word “laetare” in Latin means rejoice. It has traditionally been viewed as a day of celebration on which we may rejoice with joy, we that have been in sorrow (cfr. Isaiah 66:10-11).
Today we rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ with joy for we have the best merciful Father in heaven, our God. He is the reason of our happiness. He forgives us always our sins as being proclaimed in today’s Gospel.
In fact, the parable is not primarily about that younger son, as the prodigal son. It is not also about the older brother who are arrogant and harsh. But it is primaly about the father who is merciful.
First of all Jesus Christ told the parable to tax collectors and sinners. He also told it to the Pharisees and Scribes. Now he tells it to each of us.
So we can ask ourselves, whether we are like the prodigal son or the older arrogant brother. We may be like the younger son who are rebellious in our sins. We may be also like the older brother who are arrogant and our hearts are like rock, easily judging everyone and considering ourseleves superior to everyone.
Whoever we are, let’s rejoice in the Lord with joy, for we have the best merciful God, our heavenly Father who mercifully welcomes home both his prodigal son and his arrogant one. We rejoice with joy for our extravagant loving heavenly Father.
In today’s Gospel we encounter God our heavenly Father who does not need to speak words of forgiveness to each one of us. His actions speak more loudly and clearly! He grants us the beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet. It symbolizes the new life he grants us who returns to him. It symbolizes a pure, worthy, and joyful life in his mercy.
So, it’s very clear that in the parable we read today, Jesus Christ teaches us about God’s mercy. God is the best merciful heavenly Father for us all. He is always on the lookout for us. He rejoices in finding us and in welcoming us home. He always takes the first step to bring us back into his merciful friendship and love, no matter how far we may have strayed.
In the Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist, while adoring Jesus Christ, we rejoice with joy in him always. We thank him for bringing us to the merciful heavenly Father.
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your beautiful parable which opens our eyes to acknowledge our merciful Father. May we be merciful as you are and our God, the heavenly Father is merciful as well now and forever. Amen.