Fourth Sunday in Lent

A TIME OF RECONCILIATION

By Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent we are presented with the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Lent is a time of reconciliation, where we have the opportunity to repair what has been broken in our relationships so that we can fully enter into a new life with Christ.

Today let us pause and reflect on the times we ourselves have acted as the prodigal son, the older obedient son and the forgiving Father. What choices can we make in our daily interactions and relationships to move from hurt to peace, from death to life? We can ask ourselves in what ways are we like the prodigal son who requested his father’s inheritance so he could live a life of frivolity. Have I sought ease and money over positive relationships and integrity? Have I taken the love and mercy of another for granted, possibly more than once? Acknowledging my error only when I have nothing else left? During this season of Lent what are the ways I can let go of my own greed and selfishness so I may humbly strengthen my relationships with those I love?

We can ask ourselves in what ways are we like the older son who was angry when his younger brother was welcomed back without punishment. Do I look down on the failings of others? Do I place a person’s worth, including my own, on their ability to be obedient? While integrity and right judgment are important qualities, do I often act self-righteous and disregard the suffering and humanity of others? During this season of reconciliation how can I reach out to someone who I have previously alienated or spoken of without compassion?

We can ask ourselves in what ways are we like the father who welcomed his son home without hesitation. Do I show unconditional love to others? Am I able to set aside my own hurt to alleviate the pain and suffering of another person? Do I recognize the blessings and unconditional love I have received from God or do I allow cynicism to take away my joy? During this season of Lent, as we journey towards a new birth, how can I show unconditional love to those closest to me, regardless of their faults?

Sunday’s Readings: 1 Samuel 16.1, 6-7, 10-13, Ephesians 5.8-14, John 9.1-41