Sunday, March 18, 2007

4th Sunday of Lent

Today’s Gospel – the parable of the prodigal son – is a beautiful depiction of the never-ending love and mercy of God our Father. It is one of the main texts from Scripture that the Church uses in describing Confession. The following is a reflection based on this parable as found in the Magnificat’s Lenten Companion:

“What about the pigs?

Neither son treated the father as a father. They loved him for what he could give them. The younger son reduced his father’s love to half of the inheritance, the older son reduced his father’s love to a work wage, something he deserves from the father in payment for his labor.

Only when these wayward sons admit their sinful pettiness and recognize that their father loves them tenderly and is ready to forgive them, only then will they discover who the father is. Only then can they begin to experience the unconditional, unimaginable, superabundance of the Father’s love.

There is nothing greater than the Father. No gift that God the Father gives can compare with the Father himself. More than anything else, our heart desires the Father.

Sofia Cavaletti, who developed the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for young children, warns that if you tell this parable to very young children, they will miss the point. They will ask, ‘What about the pigs?’ They will remember that the younger son left the pigs with no one to take care of them.

Young children are simple enough to understand what is most important in life. This parable is too complicated for them. We who have become complicated are called by this parable to become like little children: true sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.”

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