Bulletin: March 27, 2022
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Who knew that when Moses led the Israelites out of slavery it would mean forty years of wandering in the desert before they were able to enter the Promised Land? Many of us experience periods of wandering in our life. Perhaps we made some poor judgment calls in our younger days, or maybe as adult children we returned home to live because of struggling with substance abuse, or unemployment, or a divorce. Or maybe we fell away from Church for a bit. This is nothing new. The second reading calls us to be new creations in Christ, to put away our old selves, to be transformed; and in the Gospel we hear the beautiful story of the Prodigal Son. Each of these calls for us to move, and grow, and leave old ways behind.
TESTING THE BOUNDARIES
Some of the first words a two-year-old might say are “Do by self!” It is almost a rite of passage for teenagers to test their parents as much as they can. Every parent who ever lay awake in bed at night waiting to hear the sound of the child pulling the car into the garage or opening the door knows at least as much about praying vigils as any nun in a convent. This is a deep and earnest prayer, and the parents can barely breathe until their child comes home. Usually when we think of the story of the Prodigal Son, we think of the feeling of guilt the son had as he realized how much he had messed things up, or we feel the injustice that the older brother felt, because he wasn’t the rebel child leaving the home.
What we don’t often remember in the story of the Prodigal Son is that God is there welcoming, urging us on. A few years ago there was a funeral for a young man who died of a drug overdose within days of coming out of a treatment center. Many of his young friends came but expected fire and brimstone, and to be told what a bad child that boy was. Instead, the priest preached about God loving this child so much that perhaps the only way God could protect him was to bring him home. That gentle image of God welcoming him with open arms soothed the broken hearts and unspoken questions that were on many minds. Not every situation is that drastic, but God is calling us home this Lent no matter what mistakes we’ve made, or how many times we have made them.
Today’s Readings: Jos 5:9a, 10–12; Ps 34:2–3, 4–5, 6–7; 2 Cor 5:17–21; Lk 15:1–3, 11–32
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