“My child, you are always with me. Everything I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31)
The 1st reading tells us that God – ever present with the Israelites – has “removed reproach” from them, while the 2nd reading urges us to be “reconciled with God.” Today’s Gospel combines both of these themes in the Prodigal Son story, the source of our 2022 Lenten theme. A younger son demands his share of the inheritance, in essence wishing his father was dead. He leaves, squanders all his money, and finds himself hungry during a famine. His hunger prompts him to return home so that he can appeal to his father’s mercy. But although the father has not been with the son, the son has always been with the father – in his heart. When the father throws a party to celebrate the return of his son, the older son – who apparently is obedient but not very generous – sulks and refuses to join the celebration, accusing his father of being unfair. The father says the words of our Lenten theme.
Reflection questions for this week:
- Are we tempted to be more like the younger son (e.g., do whatever we want and hope for mercy when we get in a pinch) or the older one (e.g., follow all the rules without much joy)? How so?
- How much like the father are we?
- Do we object (with our words OR in our hearts) when God is merciful to people whom we think deserve no mercy?
- Is it possible for us to celebrate their return home?
Pat Fosarelli for the Liturgy Committee