4/1/19 Weekly Reflection
Apr 3, 2019
Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (31 March 2019)
For the fourth Sunday of Lent, you may hear either of two sets of reading. If you are at a Mass in which the Scrutiny’s are presented to people interested in joining the Catholic Church, you will hear the Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son. All other Masses offer the parable of the man born blind in which the Pharisees refuse to believe Jesus cured the man.
There is a common thread in these two Sunday readings. The Prodigal Son reading teaches us how radical, unconditional, and unexpected is God’s love for us, no matter what. In the Jewish culture, the younger son could not have insulted his Father more when he demands his inheritance, essentially showing impatience that his Father had not yet died.
The rest of the story is familiar but I suggest you link to a short video which dramatizes very well the actual story and the emotion and joy involved in the incident. It includes the part of the parable regarding the reluctance of the older son to join in the celebration and the Father’s love as expressed to him as well.
In the other parable, Jesus cures a man born blind yet the Pharisee’s do not believe the story is true. The bottom line of the story is that it is the Pharisees who are truly blind.
The Epistle that accompanies this reading provides the link, St. Paul talks about how we are children of light and that we should walk in that light. He echo’s Jesus words “I am the light of the world.”
I suggest that one aspect of that light is the realization of the fantastic love God has for us. I have heard it said that we should never assume that anyone we meet knows God loves them. Many people walk in darkness. Perhaps they do understand God theoretically but not personally as experienced by the prodigal and elder son.
Now here some questions for you to ponder this week. Are you one of those people that knows God loves you as unconditionally and surprisingly as He did for the prodigal son or are you still burdened with past sins or the belief that God could not possible love you? Think for a minute about some of the blindness in your life. What are the areas in which Jesus calls you to repentance personally this year? These are the areas that Jesus calls us out of the darkness and to a transformation of our mind and behavior.
Are you in the dark? Lent is the time to get the record straight. The Sacrament of Penance in particular is an excellent spiritual cup of coffee and our priests are wonderful in this respect. As St. Paul says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light”