Fourth Sunday of Lent – Year C Readings
Reading 1: Jos. 5:9A, 10-12
Responsorial psalm: Ps. 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7.
Reading 2: 2 Cor. 5:17-21
Verse before the gospel: Lk. 15:18
Gospel: Lk. 15:1-3, 11-32
Todays’ Gospel speak to us of the patience and mercy that God has with all of us. We hear the story of a father and two sons, interesting there is no mention of the mother. The question would be, who are you or with whom do you identify in the Gospel, with the prodigal son, the father or with the elder brother?
1. The prodigal son
The Gospel tells us about the conversion of the youngest son and how he reflects on his past life, his present and the future. We are going to analyze the prodigal son’s life in these three aspects.
Who was the prodigal son in the past?
We can discern according to the gospel that he was a young man who did not know how to work, that he depended totally on his father, “Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.” This tells us that this young man lived of his father’s work and perhaps he did not care about the work of others as long as he had everything he wanted. And it is precisely his desires that drive him to go and experience the world. He wants to acquire his share of the inheritance to waste it in a bad life surrounded with the wrong people, this boy suffered from one of the capital sins call LUST. When he has wasted all the money and falls into the lowest state a human being can reach and realizes that he does not know how to work, that he does not know how to survive by himself. Then he realizes that life is not easy, that sin does not bring happiness but brokenness and enters into an existential crisis.
The youngest son at the time of his conversion (his present)
I would dare to say that the conversion of this young man was not completely genuine at first. If we reflect on the Gospel we realize that until he loses all his money, until he is hungry and does not know how to take care of himself, until he sees himself living and eating with the pigs he remembers that he has a father. He remembered that while he lived in his father’s house he did not lack anything that he had everything he wanted and wished for.
His conversion is based on a material needs, he is physically hungry but above all he is hungry for true love, he is hungry for a true family. He begins to think about how to return and what to say to his father, so that his actions may have no consequence, “How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.” This is the beginning and the reason of his conversion, but God uses anything to make us reflect and change the course of our lives. In spite of everything, human dignity is never lost.
That is why God never stops waiting for us, that is how the son returns to the father’s house. To his surprise his father awaits him with open arms. The material things can be recovered, but there is only one life, we have to walk with our heads held high, knowing that we are children of the Most High.
The young boy in the future
He thought that his father would put him to work just like the rest of the servants. His future is to seat with his father, his future is to share the joy of his father, and his and our future is to be with God.
2. The Father
I do not know if you ever heard your parents say they wanted to give you everything they did not have. I heard it from my parents and I have also heard it from many people saying that to their kids.
We can say that this was one of the mistakes of the Father that Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel, to give his son everything he wanted, to fulfill all his needs. If you want your children to be lost in the world, give them everything they ask for. We can say that this was one of the mistakes that this father made, but what are some of his qualities as a Father?
A Father who knows how to wait
The gospel tells us that the father was always looking for the return of his son, “He was still far away, when his father saw him” when we know how to wait good things always come. When we know how to wait we are not victims to despair, and anxiety. Being impatient is useless, nothing is resolved with impatience, on the contrary life becomes bittersweet. One of the qualities of this father is to know how to wait to good things to happen.
A compassionate father
Another very important quality of the father is his compassion. Being compassionate and merciful is a gift from God. Compassion induces happiness and serenity in people; being compassionate has a positive effect on physical and emotional health; improves interpersonal relationships; Compassion helps us to give affection in the least unexpected moments; compassion makes us feel part of a whole. The father felt compassion to see his son, he saw the dark side of his son and decided to love him, the father decided to help restore the life of his beloved son. This father does not keep accounts of evil.
A father who does not keep accounts of evil
When a person offends us we keep that particular incident in our hearts, we wait for the moment to return that favor to satisfy our hunger for revenge. The attitude of the father goes beyond the material goods that his son lost, when he sees him coming he does not ask him, What did you do with everything I gave you? On the contrary he tells his servants, “Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.” This father does not keep track of the evil done in the past; he is able to live the present with compassion looking at the future with hope. But even in the best families, envy is present. That is the attitude of the older son.
3. The oldest son
The attitude of the older brother is based in envy and anger, he did not want to enter the house when his brother returned, he was resentful not only with the brother but also with the father. This father did not haveonly a prodigal son but he had two, one far away and the other living with him.
It is possible to be a son and refuse to act as a brother?
Outwardly, the older brother was very well, he was a hard working man, never asked for anything, but look at his resentful attitude … A bad relationship with our parents, siblings and our family of faith in Christ always affects the relationship with our heavenly Father. Do not envy or be angry with anybody, it is not good for the soul.
It is possible to serve God faithfully and not be harmonized with his will? The older brother had no idea why his father was so happy to see his disobedient son return home… The self-centered and judgmental people never notice that either.
It is possible to be heir of everything our father has and have less joy and freedom than someone who does not own anything?
The servants were happier than the older brother: they ate, enjoyed themselves, and had fun while he was out demanding his rights. The attitude of the elder brother deprived him of the blessings of his father, of his brother’s love and of the joy of the servants. And if you have an “older brother” attitude, this will also block the flow of blessings that the Lord has for your life.