Fourth Sunday of Lent
Sunday March 31, 2019
Fourth Sunday of Lent – Year C Readings
A Reading from the Gospel according to Luke
Lk 15: 1-3, 11-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable:
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Today’s readings urge us to live as children of light. It is the God of Jesus Christ who leads us out of blindness into the light of God’s love. St. Francis de Sales notes similarly: “When we experience the rays of the noonday sun, we scarcely see its light before we quickly feel its heat. So it is with the light of faith. It no sooner casts its light on us and we feel the warmth of God’s love that gives us hope in God’s goodness. When we are extremely careful to do all that we can to open ourselves to divine love, then our faith comes alive and strengthens our hope. Faith brings us to love the beauty of the truths of the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”
As we accept in faith the teachings of Jesus, our hearts are invigorated with holy love. In Christ, God brings us into the light of faith. When God gives us faith, God enters into our soul and speaks to us by way of inspiration. Only God can enlighten and open our blind eyes. It is a sign of interior conversion when God gives us light to see the source of our blindness. We free ourselves from our selfish desires and come to truly know and accept ourselves as children of the Light. While we naturally experience a deep desire within us for happiness, faith reveals to us the infinite marvels of eternal happiness.
Faith is the best friend of our spirit. It is the foundation of our hope and love. It gives us the certitude of God’s continual offer of grace to us. So let us not be afraid of Our Savior who treats us as a good father and mother treat their child. As long as the child walks on soft grass, the child is allowed to walk alone for that would not do much harm. However, on dangerous paths they carry the child tenderly in their arms. Let us offer ourselves to God, walking the way of love for one another as very dear children of God. It is then that we will live as children of light.
(Adapted from the writings of Saint Francis de Sales)