The season of Lent presents us a hopeful challenge, which is to become a new creation for God. Our earthly pilgrimage is a beautiful journey but is also filled with difficulties. Daily we are confronted with choices between good and evil; choosing between hanging on to our faith, or engaging in pleasure without conscience, and without being responsible to others.
Today’s Sunday Gospel speaks of the Prodigal Son, one of the readings we are all too familiar with. This story reminds us of the extreme and forgiving love of the Father, who went beyond society’s norms in those times in order to meet head-on his long lost son, to celebrate his return. A big party was organized to celebrate the reconciliation of the son with his father, his God, his family and community. This shows us the depth of the father’s love and mercy. Yet while this banquet is being celebrated, Jesus reminds us to avoid self-righteousness by presenting the elder brother, who complained and compared himself with the repentant sibling. The father’s appreciation of the loyalty and faithfulness of the older son didn’t decrease his love and mercy for the younger son. The self-righteous son however, failed to fathom the depth of his father’s love and mercy.
Our familiarity with this Gospel shouldn’t make us overlook its very powerful message. Becoming new for God is indeed what we need to do every moment of our lives, but most especially in this season of Lent.
We therefore have to return to our Heavenly Father with repentant hearts, and to experience fully the Holy Mass as it presents us with the opportunity to move from sinfulness to reconciliation with the Father.
As prodigal children, we have hurt our Heavenly Father with what’s happening around us. Poverty, hunger, abortion, graft and corruption, greed, and the like are common. These are happening because we have lived lives squandering the wealth that the Father has provided us. We need to return home and reconcile with Him.
In all humility, let us accept the reality that we are sinful, but ready to receive God’s mercy, and to experience the Living Jesus in the Holy Eucharist as a loving and forgiving God.
“In my misfortune I called, the Lord heard and saved me from all distress.” (Ps. 34: 7)