The Road Home
These Lenten Scripture readings each week are so rich in their promises. Their richness arises from their author, Jesus, the Son of God. There is no one who has lived on this earth who could ever be like Him. He is Divine, knowing all the hidden mystery of God. At the same time He is human, not sharing in sinful humanity, but rather living deeply what human life, without sin can, and should be. Sadly, we will never be able to grasp this.
But, not to be disheartened. The Israelites, in our first reading, are finally at home, the Promised Land. It’s the fulfillment of a dream. Their delight, their joy, can scarcely be described. Paul, in his letter, insists on our being risen to an exquisite level of happiness. We are in Christ! It is his definition of what it means for us to be disciples. He speaks of us as ambassadors–-for Christ. Our official Church gets it. Today is known as “Laetare Sunday.” Rejoice!!
Yet, there is more. Perhaps it is in our Gospel that we find the jewel of the message. We are all familiar with Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son. The Father forgives his wayward son. Could we see him as too “soft”? After all, where the discipline? Jesus is telling us, God forgives, everyone, everything! Look again. It is Jesus, God’s Son, telling a story, teaching an echoing doctrine, as it were.
In the story, a parable, do we get the various lessons? For example, who is the Father? Okay, but can we discern what might be going on in the “Father”? And now, in a story about forgiveness—we can’t help but see our image. Having given this some thought, what’s your reaction, your response? Take your time.
And finally, another son, the older son. What a volume of emotions; anger, hurt, bitterness, vengeance. Is it, are they, familiar? The bottom line: “Son, daughter, everything I have is yours!”