4th Sunday of Lent Year C

Published on 25 Mar 2019
James Tissot. The return of the Prodigal Son: a Father greets a young man at the steps of his house

Rejoice! This child of mine was lost, and is found!

O God, who through your Word

reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,

grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith

the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.

Laetare (‘Rejoice!’) Sunday is a day of joyful celebration in the middle of our Lenten journey. Today we rejoice in God’s outpouring of compassion and forgiveness for us, as we remember that we are loved sinners.

In the First Reading the Israelites celebrate Passover in the Promised Land. Though they no longer need the manna they ate in the wilderness, they are still totally dependent on the God who provides for them.

The Psalm invites us to taste and see the Lord’s goodness – to glorify the One who hears us, frees us and rescues us from our distress.

St Paul tells how God has reconciled himself with the whole of humanity through Christ, who has taken on our sinfulness so we might show God to others. Our task now is to be ambassadors – to continue God’s great work of reconciliation by sharing the good news. (Second Reading)

In the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus gives a wonderful picture of that same loving reconciliation in action, as we see the height and depth of a father’s compassion for his penitent child. This is how much God loves us, too: so much that he yearns and waits to welcome us home with joy when we turn to him in repentance. Today’s leaflet stops at v. 24, but we should take time to read on to the end of the story. Perhaps we, too, can sometimes respond a little like the aggrieved elder brother?

As Lent continues, let’s pray that we might become increasingly aware of God’s compassionate gaze on us, and to ask for his help in seeing others with that same generous, loving regard, regardless of who they are.

Glorify the Lord with me, together let us praise his name!    Psalm

We are ambassadors for Christ.     Second Reading

While he was still far off, his Father saw him and was moved with pity.    Gospel

This week’s texts if you want to reflect further

Joshua 5: 9–12; Psalm 33 (34); 2 Cor. 5: 17–21; Luke 15: 1–3, 11–32