4th Sunday in Lent (March 10, 2013)

Christ the Teacher, University of Portland

This week’s Readings

I can just imagine the scene in the Gospel (Cycle C). Jesus is eating with the tax collectors and sinners; He and his disciples are having a blast, thoroughly enjoying the company, the food, the drink. Somewhere in the vicinity are the scribes and Pharisees, harrumphing over the fact that this well-known rabbi named Jesus is eating with the hoi polloi. No self-respecting Jewish rabbi or elder would ever do that, to do so would be to entail defilement.

I would love to have seen their faces when Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son. Their self-righteousness must have come screaming to the forefront of their conversation and consciousness, as they thought: “Who does he think he is talking about us like that!!!”

I would love to have seen the faces of the guests at the dinner, as they realized that Jesus was comparing them to beloved lost children who had been found and welcomed back to the Father’s house.

The theme of course is that Jesus is the Redeemer and not the Approver or Excluder. The Pharisees are the disapprovers and excluders and Jesus is putting Himself in direct opposition to them and their ways.

Now you and I are very much familiar with those roles of Approver and Excluder. We love to determine who’s in and who’s out. The ones who are “out” are those we’re afraid of, those we resent, those who aren’t doing their share, those who don’t share our political or religious sentiments, etc. We’re like the elder son of the Gospel, the one who always obeyed all the rules and doesn’t get any credit for it.

It pays to look closely at the father’s response to his eldest son: “All that I have is yours.” Those who are “in” truly have been blessed. No doubt about it. Hopefully they remember to be grateful for those blessings, for everything comes from a loving Father – Everything! So why begrudge those same blessings when given to “them?”

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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