Lent Week 4 - Choices and Forgiveness
Choices and Forgiveness
Week 4: March 31
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
“The Parable of the Prodigal Son” is very familiar to us. Some scholars debate that a more appropriate title would be “The Parable of the Forgiving Father.” Whichever title you may prefer, the entire story is really based on what it means to be in a loving relationship. The younger son broke his relationship with his father because he wanted to satisfy his needs immediately. The older son didn’t seem to have a very good relationship with his father. Through all of it, we hear of the father’s over-abundant, unexpected, acts of love. The father was humiliated in front of the whole community by both of his sons, yet he rebuked neither of them. The younger son was offered complete restoration to his former status. He accepted it. The older son was offered the same. He rejected it.
In his pastoral letter, Bishop Libasci challenges all of us to accompany each other on a journey that is often difficult and somewhat unpredictable. We have choices to make. “We face many decisions about how we live in relationship with others…The Holy Spirit guides our discernment and gives us the gifts we need.” We can choose to walk with each other, care for each other and forgive each other. On the other hand, we can choose isolation and selfishness.
Our choices will determine how we make our way in this world. How will our choices, “our words and deeds witness to the foundation of our faith?”
The father was the hero in this story. He extended grace to both sons, deserving or not. He felt compassion as he saw his son returning home. When people come back to you after causing a break in your relationship, do you find it easy to extend forgiveness? Can you think of a time when you extended forgiveness? A time when you withheld it?
Focus on God’s unconditional love for you. Take some quiet time to reflect on the ways God has extended love and forgiveness to you, and how, with God’s help, you can begin to repair a broken relationship.
Read two sections (A Lifelong Journey Together and Enriching Evangelization) of Bishop Libasci’s pastoral letter, “A Call to Hope, A Call to Act.” Choose a way that you will “see others in a new light.”