March 31, 2019 by Sisters of Charity
Fourth Week of Lent
On the Fourth Sunday of Lent the Church invites us to hear the story Jesus tells of the son who demanded of his father ‘his share of his estate,’ left home, squandered every penny, and found himself with absolutely nothing—-except the remembrance of his father. He makes his way home sadly, all the while preparing the desperate plan he will place before the one person he knows won’t let him down—the very one he treated so badly—his father. Then Luke’s gospel (15:1-32) recounts this beautiful line spoken by Jesus: “While [the son] was still a long way off, his father ran to him, embraced him and kissed him…”
His father ran to him. Sometimes we might find ourselves a long way off from God, as we consider our sinfulness. Jesus tells us that in the midst of our desolation, perhaps even self-loathing, we can know that He will be waiting for our return. Rather than accusing us, He will run to us and embrace us.
This is a story of reconciliation that gives us the extraordinary, incomprehensible image of our merciful God who watches for the first sign of our desire to return to Him. What kind of love is this? With hope and conviction we can turn to Him in the precious sacrament of confession (now so beautifully called Reconciliation) and know we will be forgiven.
And, if by the grace of God we already know Him as our forgiving Father, then let us pray for souls who do not, asking for them the great grace needed to return to Him this Lent that they, like us, may experience the embrace of God’s infinite mercy. Perhaps your prayer, my prayer, is all someone needs this week to be reconciled with the Father….
God bless you, and may you find rest in His welcome embrace.