4th Sunday of Lent - Cycle C
Familiarity can sometimes cause us to presume. Especially with family members, we can presume to know how people will respond to a situation. We might presume that because we are familiar with the pieces of a story, we don’t need to hear it again. We often don’t give the story an opportunity to have a fresh effect on us.
The parables of the New Testament fit into that category. They are those Gospel stories that have the tremendous capacity for newness every time we hear them. They’re usually easy to remember and touch our hearts more than our heads.
Today’s Gospel fits that pattern. The setting is the family. We meet the generous father and his two totally different sons.
Today, let’s focus on the father in this family. In a very quiet way, we learn a great deal about him. We learn about his patience, forgiveness, and open-mindedness. When we focus on the father, we are given a blueprint of what to expect of God. Although the story is often referred to as the Prodigal Son, it is the generous, truly extravagant father that shows us a depth of love that is beyond measure and unending. Generosity, not judgment, seems to define this father.
In the end, it is the homecoming welcome the father extends when his wandering younger son returns that reveals the father’s heart. His welcome is delivered in the expansiveness of his gestures. This son who was “dead” had come back to life. All creation would join in the celebration!
We are called to reach out in love, welcome and forgiveness just as the father has done.