Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (15: 1-3, 11-32) in which Jesus shares the parable of a son who strays and is still welcomed home by his father.
For Fr Paul, today’s Gospel, pure and simple, is a story about forgiveness. The young man comes home, not because his is sorry, but because he is hungry. The loving father is always on the lookout even though the boy has written his father off.
When the father sees the son there’s that beautiful image of the father running to him, clasping him in his arms and kissing him tenderly. He even interrupts his son’s carefully prepared speech to clothe him, to give him power by putting a ring on his finger, and to set him free by putting sandals on his feet. If that wasn’t enough, he orders the fattened calf, which would feed a whole village, to be killed so that they can celebrate. Even towards the end of the Gospel, we hear of the father leaving his guests to go out and talk to his eldest son.
If we review this Gospel and the characters Luke talks about in it, they are always a bit like us – good and bad at the same time – but truly this Gospel, more anything, is about the unforgettable and overflowing love and forgiveness of God.
Fr Paul invites us to keep this in mind as our Lenten journey continues.