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Fourth Sunday of Lent

1 Peter 3:15: In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Prayer ...
Heavenly Father, thank you for telling your grace in Jesus. I'm not sure we would have heard any other message. Give us the conviction we need to share our hope in Jesus, but in a way that reflects your grace. Through our Infant Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Readings ... (March 10, 2013)
Day: Fourth Sunday of Lent
First Reading: Jos 5:9a, 10-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Second Reading: 2 Cor 5:17-21
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Lectionary: 33
Colour: Voilet
Listen to Reading:
Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.2And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3So he told them this parable: 11And he said, "There was a man who had two sons; 12and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. 13Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. 14And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. 15So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants."' 20And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry.25"Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. 27And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.' 28But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!' 31And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."
Meditation on Today's Scripture:
The prodigal could not come back to the garden of innocence, but he was welcomed and reinstated as a son who had been missed much and really loved by his father. The errant son's dramatic change from grief and guilt to forgiveness and reinstatement express in picture-language the resurrection from the dead which Jesus makes possible to everyone who believes in him, a rebirth to new life from death. The parable also contrasts mercy and its opposite unforgiveness. The father, who had been offended, was forgiving. But the eldest son, who had not been wronged, was unforgiving. His unforgiveness turns into malicious pride and contempt for his brother. And his resentment leads to his separation and estrangement from the community of forgiven sinners. In this parable Jesus gives a bright picture of God and what God is like. God is truly kinder than any of us. He does not lose hope or give up when we stray from him. He is always on the lookout for those who have a transform of heart and want to return. He rejoices in finding the missing and in welcoming them home. Do we know the joy of repentance and the restoration of association as a son or daughter of our heavenly Father? Loving Infant Jesus, may we never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you have shown to us. Fill us with your transforming love that we may be merciful as you are merciful.


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