March 6, 2016 - 4th Sunday of Lent, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We tend to focus only on the younger son, but neither son is innocent, neither son is perfect.
Both of the father’s sons are in need of repentance. Both sons are in need of mercy. Both sons need to change.
The younger son, even after his return, may still be lazy. The younger son probably still has entitlement issues.
The younger son might always have the sinful tendency to party it up, to hang out with his friends so that he is the center of attention.
The older son, even after his return to his father, may still be self-righteous and judgmental. The older son probably still has anger issues.
The older son is likely to continue to stew over things and continue to withhold forgiveness from his wayward brother.
Both sons need to repent and accept God’s forgiveness. Both sons need to change their ways.
Both have begun the process by returning to the father and entering back into relationship with him.
However, this is not a once for all return. They both still have a ways to go. They both still have work to do.
The two sons represent personality types we find among people today. Neither son is perfect and neither are we. All of us go astray in our own way.
The parable of the forgiving father challenges us to look at our own lives to see where the sin lies. Sin is there lurking, seeking to take control of us.
We need to repent and accept God’s forgiveness. We need to change our ways.
Maybe we have begun this process of returning to the Lord God but it is not easy.
Repentance and change are not a one time only decision. The move to return to the father is a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing.
When we slip up, we start again. It’s a difficult journey for us because we want to hold onto our old ways, our old grudges, our old ways of thinking, our old habits, our favorite sins, our old enemies.
But we struggle to make many, many small returns to the Lord.
Like the father in the story, the Lord God waits patiently for us to come to our senses.
Like the father in the story, the Lord God is watching and waiting for our return.
Like the father in the story, the Lord God celebrates us every time we return.