Readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent
Isaiah 12:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3,11-32
Few things in life matter more to us than family. It’s where most of us find our deepest bonds of love and loyalty. And it’s for that very reason that a break in the family’s unity brings us such deep pain and heartache. A major theme of Sunday’s readings is how God seeks to mend His broken family by bringing reconciliation through His Son.
Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son describes a family torn apart by youthful pride and self-indulgence. But in the end, the greater threat to the family proves to be the older son’s bitter and begrudging spirit. Shining through the gloom of this dysfunction is a Father (God) whose extraordinary love and capacity to forgive seeks to hold both of His sons close. Can we rejoice when God showers mercy on those the world has deemed undeserving? (Lk 15).
Paul proclaims the reconciling work of Christ on our behalf, his death and resurrection which brought us back into God’s family. But that isn’t the end of it! We are then sent out into the world as Christ’s ambassadors to share his message of reconciliation with the world (2Cor 5).
In the Old Testament reading, Israel sings a joyful song of praise to the LORD God. To understand the reason behind this burst of song, you need to read the prior chapter which promises the sending of Christ – Israel’s true King. Those who have wandered away from God’s house are called home in Christ, who bears the image of that loving Father we see in the parable (Is 12).