Fourth Sunday Of Lent, March 18, 2007

Joshua 5: 9A, 10-12

2 Corinthians 5: 17-21

Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32

Become mediators of the love and the joy of God...

Jesus tells a parable to those who complain that he eats with sinners. Are they not like the elder son who becomes angry and shows his jealousy? The older son thinks that his father should reprimand the younger son for his misconduct. Even the younger son, himself, expects that his return will be accompanied by a punishment proportionate to his bad conduct. Both the sons expect retribution measured out according to their respective behavior. But, although he feels that he is no longer worthy of being a son, the younger one still says "Father," intuiting that he will be treated with clemency. The older son, for his part, even though he has stayed with his father doesnt see things the same way. The paternal image, based on the idea of retribution, keeps him from understanding his fathers reasoning and choices. Strictly speaking, the older brother has not been offended and has no reason to reproach his father. Pardon does not erase justice. He is invited to open himself up to the ways of his father and we are also invited to do the same.

It is certain that the father of the parable is God, who rejoices in the return of the sinner. This story about the father upsets the ideas of justice and retribution coming from the lips of the older son and which could be our own. What will the final response of the older brother be? And what will ours be? Can we hear with total trust and hope, the words of the father addressed to us: " You, my child, are always with me?" If we can recognize ourselves in the rebellious son and also in the jealous one, can we consent to letting ourselves be drawn to the heart of the divine proposal and become mediators for our brothers and sisters of the mercy and joy of God?

-- Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.