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Lenten Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Merciful Father

Mar. 4, 2016 - by Carlos Aedo, Director of Hispanic Ministry 

The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent can be found here.
Para leer esto en español haga click aquí.

Rembrandt's "Return of the Prodigal Son"One of the most moving scenes of the Gospels appears in the readings of this coming Sunday. In the story of The Merciful Father, Luke tells us that the father “caught sight” of his son “while he was still a long way off”. Then, the father “ran to his son” and “embraced him and kissed him”. The father’s love for his son suspends anger and disappointment, and even precedes the son’s petition for forgiveness.

This love, I believe, transforms the son because the experience of such love stirs the heart deeply. The parable ends with a conversation between the father and his older, dutiful son, but imagine what the younger, prodigal son becomes: more generous, more compassionate, more attentive to the needs and concerns of others. At the end of the party, he might even have sought reconciliation with his brother.

In his 2016 Message for Lent, Pope Francis expresses this transformative experience like this: “God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbor and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit”.

Love transforms us. Mercy transforms us. Lent is a season intended to help us become brothers and sisters to on another, and sons and daughters of God. Are we letting the mercy and love of God transform us?