Last Sunday: 4th Sunday of Lent
March 10 , 2013
Luke 15:1-43, 11-32
March 10 , 2013
Luke 15:1-43, 11-32
"But now we must celebrate and rejoice" Luke 15:32a NAB
The Parable of the Prodigal Son seems focused on the extravagance and lavishness of the second son who asked for his inheritance and squandered it all in a life of dissipation (v. 13b) because of his love for life which he thought would complete him when he sought it in the sensual and the material. The parable also takes us to look at the extravagance and lavishness of the older son. He was preoccupied in doing what is "right" and choosing what is "righteous." He became so rigid in his ways and in his relationships resulting to his inability to enjoy the company and presence of his father. All the while, he considered himself severely as his father's servant while he resents his brother for the path he chose to live.
Both sons' extravagance and lavishness though expressed in directly opposite ways led to their being lost in their respective excesses. Thankfully, they were no match to the extravagance and lavishness of the father in terms of his love, patience and understanding. It was manifested in the way the father actually waited for the return of the second son, perhaps from the very day he left for his adventure. The father was so consistent in his watch that he immediately saw and run to embrace and kiss his son when he finally did show up. There was not question, no questions, no demand for apology, no conditions. There was only a an overwhelming and heartfelt welcome. The finest robe, the ring and the sandals were signs of the second son's restoration in the Father's household, and therefore a testament to the great heart of the father.
It was also expressed eloquently in the way he went out to see and talk to his angry and jealous older son, to plead with him and console him, and in encouraging him to see as he does in the generosity of his love. Being with him and never being far away from him, and being the heir to all that the father has are all great causes for celebration. In the light of such lavish experience of the Father's love, the recent turn of events becomes yet another occasion to celebrate for his brother was dead and has come to life again, he was lost is found again (v. 32)! The Father leads the older son to realize the blessedness of his state because of the Father's generosity. In living it, he will just become part of the generous flow of love to genuinely celebrate what is restored! The restoration of his brother becomes his restoration. The joy of the Father becomes his joy!
What a very apt message on this 4th Sunday of Lent, otherwise known as Laetare Sunday, for it anticipates the joy of Easter, the celebration of the fullness of God self-giving! Pure love! Pure gift of God's Heart to all! For such is the love of God! Extravagant! Lavish! Prodigal! He always waits for our return from our sinful ways. He always gets out of himself to seek to transform our self-righteousness into an open and inclusive kind of love. He wants all of us to be prodigal in giving ourselves to one another, for we have been recipients of him - the source of abundant God's gift of Godself. May our prayers this season be inspired by the extravagance of God's love!
Jesus, our friend and brother, you call us to repentance with the guaranty that, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, you await our return from our sinful ways and our sense of self-righteousness. Grant us the grace to open ourselves to the generosity of your heart, that we in turn may be generous, too, in our self-giving to one another. Amen.