Readings: Joshua 5:9-12; Ps 34:2-7; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Luke 15:11-32
An important part of our Lenten journey is acknowledging that God’s love and mercy will always be there to carry us through. We do not deserve it. It is gift and grace.
This is borne out in each of today’s readings. The Israelites have been brought out of slavery in Egypt by God and in our first reading come to the promised land. In the second reading Paul reminds us how when we are in Christ we are a ‘new creation’ and the ‘old things have passed away’. Importantly being in Christ is not just about my faith but about the community of faith to which we belong. How might we be God’s love by helping others feel more included in our communities?
The piece de résistance is in the Gospel. The parable of the Loving Father. While we know the parable by another name, the unconditional love of the father is the rightful focus of the story. The problem is that we have read into the text all of our judgmental attitudes, puzzling over the sons. Instead we should read out of the text the father’s love and forgiveness, the contrition of the younger son and the judgment of the older son.
We have heard it said ‘God’s ways are not human ways’. So let us emulate God’s ways, focusing on love and forgiveness. In that way we will live out the response from today’s psalm: ‘taste and see the goodness of the Lord’.