Gospel Reading: 4 Sunday of Advent Year C

Gospel reading: Lk.15:1-3; 11-32.

Magic Lotus flower

The tax-collectors and the sinners, meanwhile, were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the Scribes complained.  ‘This man,’ they said, ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So, he spoke this parable to them:  A man had two sons.   The younger said to his father, ‘let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.’  So, the Father divided the property between them.  A few days later the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country, where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery. When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.  And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating, but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, ‘How many of my Father’s servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger!  I will leave this place and go to my father and say, “Father I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.”  So, he left the place and went back to his Father. While he was still a long way off, his Father saw him and was moved with pity He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.   Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.   I no longer deserve to be called your son.’   But the father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the calf we have been fattening and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life, he was lost and is found.’  And they began to celebrate.   Now the elder son was in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants, he asked what it was all about.  ‘Your brother has come,’ replied the servant, ‘and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he got him back safe and sound.’ He was angry then and refused to go in, and his Father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, ‘Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends.  But for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women- you kill the calf you had been fattening.  The Father said, ‘My son, you are with me always, and all I have is yours.   But it was only right that we should celebrate and rejoice because your brother here was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.’

GUIDELINES TO HELP US TO MEDITATE ON THE PASSAGE SO AS TO RECOGNIZE AND CELEBRATE GOD’S PRESENCE AND ACTIVITY IN OUR LIVES AND WORLD TODAY.

Can you identify with the experience of “the Prodigal Son” – turning our back on someone’s love for fear that we were missing out on something.  And one day in our pain and shame, acknowledging that we had messed up badly, and beginning a journey back home again.  Lord, help us to remember that no matter how often, or how far we drift away, there is always a way back home for a humble, contrite heart.

Can you identify the deep and faithful love of a mam or dad, a loving parent, who reflects for us something of the total and unconditional love of “the Prodigal father” in this story.  Parents who never ever give up on their children, no matter what! We give thanks for the love of our parents today conscious that they give us a glimpse into the very heart of God.

Can you identify with “the elder Son” in the story?  Begrudging other people success or joy or happiness because we didn’t think they deserved it.  And eating sower grapes because we felt cheated.  Lord help us to recognize that your love, like all true love, is gratuitous – freely given, not something we have to earn or merit.  All we can do is to show our appreciation of it.  Lord have mercy!