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Sunday, March 25, 2001

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

Joshua 5:9, 10-12
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Psalm 34
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

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the prodigal sons

"But his father came out and began to plead with him." —Luke 15:28

"A man had two sons" (Lk 15:11). The "younger son collected all his belongings and went off to a distant land, where he squandered his money on dissolute living" (Lk 15:13). This son traditionally has been called "the prodigal son." The older son stayed at home. He said that he had slaved for his father and had not disobeyed any of his father's orders (Lk 15:29). This older son should also be called a "prodigal son," for he was angry at his father's forgiveness and mercy given to his younger brother (Lk 15:28). Prodigals are not only drunkards and fornicators but also the angry and the unforgiving. Prodigals are not only those who leave home but also those who stay home — motivated by anything other than love. Prodigals are not only the disobedient but also the obedient who go by only the letter of the law (see 2 Cor 3:6).

Are you a good, upstanding, churchgoing prodigal? Unforgiveness is one of the most telling indications of being a prodigal in Christian disguise. Therefore, come to your senses (see Lk 15:17). By God's grace, decide to forgive everyone for all the sins committed against you. Come back home in your heart, even if you are already home geographically. When you come into the forgiveness-feast of the prodigal son, you will find that you too are a prodigal, and the feast and the forgiveness are also for you.

Prayer:  Father, may I accept Your grace to forgive prodigals, even myself.

Promise:  "God, in Christ, was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men's transgressions against them, and...He has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us. This makes us ambassadors for Christ, God as it were appealing through us. We implore you, in Christ's name: be reconciled to God!" —2 Cor 5:19-20

Praise:  Praise our forgiving Father, our risen Savior, and the Spirit of holiness!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 9, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 18, 2000