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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, March 10, 2013

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

March 10, Fourth Sunday of Lent

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Joshua 5:9a, 10-12

Psalm 34:2-7

2) 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

For three hours Glenn paced the floor of his hotel room. It was the first night of the European tour he was taking with his 18-year-old son -- who'd already gone missing.

Father and son both had been looking forward to this adventure together, a graduation present. But right off the bat, the son pulled this stunt. After they'd returned to their room from dinner, the son said he was going to get a soda from the vending machines down the hall. Instead, he decided to go out on his own and check out London's nightlife.

Luckily, he didn't have much money with him so he was back at the hotel only a few hours later. When Glenn tells the story 25 years later, the joy and relief he felt at his son's return is still palpable. His anger and disappointment at the young man's thoughtless folly had long ago become a humorous recollection.

"I don't know why he didn't ..." Glenn starts, then catches himself, "Well, I do know why he didn't ask, because he knew I wouldn't let him go out alone."

Every parent who has worried about the safety of a disobedient child can relate to this week's Gospel story of the prodigal son. Mostly, they understand the overriding joy of the father when he is reunited with his wayward child.

This is Jesus' message in the parable: However disobedient we are, however much we exploit God's gifts, however we may separate ourselves from him, take his love for granted or ignore it altogether, however far we fall and however long it takes, our loving Father waits for us with open arms, hoping always that we will come back to his embrace.

As with Glenn and his adolescent child, God knows our nature. He knows we sin despite possible consequences. But he is sorry when we suffer and doesn't want us to get lost in our fall. He wants us to come back and share in the life he has for us. Whenever we acknowledge the dysfunction of our sinfulness and choose to come home to him, God senses fulfillment of his dream and he celebrates.


When have you recently felt separated from God? Why? Why do you believe God desires us to be reconciled to him and each other?


"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." -- Luke 15:23-24


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