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Friday, 25 March 2022 20:01

Fourth Sunday of Lent - 2022

Fourth Sunday of Lent,

27th March, 2022.

LUKE 15:1-3, 11-32

Bill Burt 150A few years ago a friend of mine,  a fellow priest,  shared this story with me: He and his brother were the joint heirs to their father’s estate. Several months before their father died, he called his son, the priest, saying he wanted to talk about something very important.

My friend visited his father, who was by now very frail, in his nursing home. His father nervously said, “You know that you and your brother are the beneficiaries of my will. However, you are a priest and a member of a religious order, while your brother is a solo father. I don’t think you need my money, but it would make a big difference for your brother. So, I want to cut you out of the will. What do you think about this?”

Prodigal Son TwitterMy friend immediately responded positively, saying that his father’s plan was excellent. A few months later, the father died, and my friend’s brother received a large inheritance, while he received nothing.

He later told me that although he was very glad that this happened, he still felt a little bit hurt, as he felt that he had been just a little rejected by his father.

Reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel, which relates the well-known story of The Prodigal Son and touches on the complexity of family relationships, I have found myself thinking about my friend’s experience of being cut out of a will, and pondering on the pain of rejection.

One of the beautiful themes in Jesus’ teachings is the idea that God is INCLUSIVE, and that GOD DOES NOT REJECT ANYONE. We can reject God. We can disregard God. But God says, “EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS”. Everyone has a place in God’s Kingdom, everyone is a beneficiary of God’s bequest.

This is a wonderful truth to cling to, especially when we are confronted by our own fragility, when we are living with the consequences of poor decisions or inappropriate behaviour. Our divine inheritance is not conditional on us living like angels, but rather on our willingness to accept who we are as incredibly-loved children of God.

The reality of our troubled world, with its political and military upheavals, its continual natural disasters, and the pandemic, cannot be ignored. Yet  we are invited to be open to God, hoping against hope that the reviving message of Easter which will be celebrated soon, may give us all strength and courage to look for a brighter future: A brighter future where people can accept as a fact the words of the Father: “EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS”.

IMAGE: Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Society of the Divine Word, Australia Province, acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, sky, and community.

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