Based on the Gospel of Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Lost and found. Love, repentance, mercy, and forgiveness.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells the story of the forgiving father who had two sons. The younger son asks his father for his inheritance, leaves the family home, and goes into the city where he spends all his money foolishly.
Soon, the money is gone and he no longer has any food, work, or friends. He ends up taking a job feeding pigs.
Feeling unhappy, he decides to return home and beg his father’s forgiveness. The father, who never stopped loving the younger son, sees him walking up the road, runs to him, and hugs him. The son says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” The father is so happy to see his son he orders his servants to prepare a party to celebrate.
The older son returns home from the fields, hears the celebration, is very angry and pouts. He says to his father, “Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.”
The father’s love for his older son is also very clear. He says to him, “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.”
The father doesn’t deny how obedient and faithful he’s been, but he’s trying to tell his older son there is something more important right now – a son and brother was lost and has been found. The father says, “Be forgiving…. We must celebrate and rejoice.”
Jesus told this story because he wants us to understand that God is a loving and merciful Father who will always forgive us when we are sorry for our sins. When we ask for forgiveness, God will always welcome us back with open arms. But God also wants us to forgive others and to reconcile with others, too.
In the Gospel, the Pharisees and scribes complained that Jesus welcomed sinners and tax collectors and ate with them. Jesus is telling us God’s love and mercy are meant for everyone – the sinners, the outcasts, the lost, the poor, the homeless, the forgotten, and so on.
Jesus generously gave us the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist. He invites all of us to the eucharistic banquet – the Mass.
Get to the sacrament of reconciliation sometime during Lent, and receive Jesus in holy Communion as often as you can in preparation for the glorious feast of Easter.