Fourth Sunday of Lent

Three pairs of words resonate throughout our gospel today: lost and found, rebellion and repentance, return and rejoice. The awesome image of our loving God, the radiantly compassionate image of Jesus, the healing music of the Spirit which are implicit in today’s gospel, are most encouraging. Isn’t it wonderful that God in Christ welcomes outcasts and eats with them! Isn’t it fascinating that the Spirit is found in unexpected places, among outsiders, the homeless and the undesirable? Isn’t it delightful that God sees us a long way off and runs to greet us on our return? Then there is the rich symbolism of the family ring and the robe. Rejoice and be glad. Our God is truly prodigal! When Jesus welcomes sinners, when he eats with them, when he sits with the outcasts, he is demonstrating God’s love reaching out to heal and save the world. Jesus is the living proof and demonstration of the parable of the Prodigal. His prodigal compassion is clearly visible in every aspect of his own ministry. Have we the courage to turn and return to him with repentant hearts in these days of holy Lent? Are we coming home to Christ? Are we sitting beside Jesus as we listen to his story?