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Vol: 46, No.22 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT ( C) March 31 2019  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE
1ST Reading:
TOWARDS THE PROMISED LAND
The people of Israel have finally arrived at the Promised Land which has been their destination when they were delivered from their slavery in Egypt. It is only natural that they remember God through the celebration of the Passover. This is the first time in forty years that they are celebrating the Passover. The departure from Egypt has begun with the celebration of the Passover and ends with the Passover. Similarly, the wandering through the wilderness begins and ends with the manna. Another fact is that the people are beginning to eat the produce of the land of Canaan. After the Passover, on the very next day itself, they begin to enjoy the long anticipated food in the Promised Land. The tiresome forty years of eating manna in the desert are now behind them. A new period in the Israelite history also begins with it. The theme of newness leads us to the Second Reading.
2ND Reading:
FAITH OFFERS NEWNESS
One of the most beautiful statements about newness comes from this passage that Paul has written to the Corinthians. Anyone who embraces Christianity is a new creation. He has left his past life behind and has assumed the new life. To be in Christ is to be participating already in the new creation. Paul says of this new creation in which Christians participate, that all this is from God, because it is God who takes the initiative in Christ to reconcile us to himself, not counting our sins against us. God now wants that we become his ambassadors so that he can appeal through us to others to be reconciled to him. This is a responsibility that we need to carry out.
GOSPEL:
THE PRODIGAL FATHER
Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son in answer to the murmuring of the Pharisees and the Scribes against Jesus’ association with the am admi. There are three characters in this parable which
 
reads more like a novella. The story revolves around a rather well-to-do and benevolent father and his two sons. The younger son wants independence from his father and so demands his share of the property. Gathering his wealth, he leaves his family and then squanders his money. Soon he becomes a vagabond with no money left even to buy food. Hunger drives him to take a job of tending pigs, unclean animals for Jews, but he is not allowed even to eat the pig’s food. He is starving and has been completely degraded. At this juncture he plans to return home. He rehearses three short statements to address his father. They include a confession of sin and recognition that he has forfeited his position as son. At this point our attention shifts to the father. He does not abuse the son for his carelessness and selfishness. Indeed, he does not even wait passively for the son to arrive. He runs out to meet him. He embraces and kisses him, recognizing him as son even before the son has a chance to state his repentance. Not permitting his son to finish his speech, the father bestows the choicest things of honour on the returned son: sandals, robe, ring, fatted calf. So eager, Jesus suggests, is God to receive back those who have wandered away from him.
The story could have ended here but it takes a twist by telling us about the behaviour of the elder son. He is not happy that his father receives back his brother who has gone away. His refusal to go inside the house shows his total unhappiness. His father comes out and entreats him, but the elder son refuses to listen to his father. He has only bitter complaints against his father. Can we read from this that when a son who has been considered lost is found, another son is lost? There the story is open ended. We have to fill in the gaps. With which of the characters in the story do we identify ourselves?
– AK
April 2019

(4th Week of Lent, Year I)

Psalter Week 4
01 Mon (V) Isa 65:17-21/ Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-13/ Jn 4:43-54
02 Tue (V) St Francis of Paola, Ezek 47:1-9, 12/ Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9/ Jn 5:1-16
03 Wed (V) Isa 49:8-15/ Ps 145:8-9, 13-14, 17-18/ Jn 5:17-30
04 Thu (V) St Isidore of Seville, Exod 32:7-14/ Ps 106:19-23/ Jn 5:31-47
05 Fri (V) St Vincent Ferrer, Wis 2:1, 12-22/ Ps 34:17-21, 23/ Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
06 Sat (V) Jer 11:18-20/ Ps 7:2-3, 9-12/ Jn 7:40-53
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