Lectio Divina: 4th Sunday of Lent
“Everything I have is yours.” — Luke 15:31
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us the powerful and moving story of the prodigal son. Everyone knows the basic gist of the story, but every time we read it, we’re able to go a little deeper and find something new (which is often the case with all of Scripture). The younger son tells his father he is worth more to his father dead than alive by asking for his share of his inheritance. He takes it and then goes off and wastes it on wasteful and sinful things. However, once famine struck, the son was left to his own devices. Starving and hungry, he was ready to eat with the pigs (remember, pigs were seen as “unclean” animals at the time). Scripture tells us that the son suddenly came to his senses and realized that even the servants of his father ate better, so he decided to go back home. What happened next is a familiar scene to all of us. The son begins to rehearse his grand and elaborate apology to his father. He believed he would only be welcomed back as a worker and not as a son. He thought his sin and failures were too much that they would strip away his core identity.
We know what happens next. The father was waiting all along, so much so that the father “ran” to the son while he was still far away. Ecstatic that his son is back home, he sends for his servants to get him garments. They dress the son in the “finest” robes and give him a ring and sandals – symbols of freedom, not slavery. They prepare a feast, a party, to celebrate that he lives. This sounds super extravagant, but this is the reality of our lives. When we turn away from sin, confess where we’ve failed, and return to the Lord, Heaven rejoices. The angels and saints leap with joy when we choose to return to our identity as beloved children. Even when the older brother gets jealous and dismissive of the return of the younger son, the father still takes time to affirm his older son. He reminds him that “everything I have is yours.”
All that the Heavenly Father has is for us. He desires to bestow on us blessings and graces to serve better, to love more deeply, and to become the saints we are called to be. The Parable of the Prodigal Son reminds us that no matter how far we’ve wandered or strayed, the Heavenly Father is always ready and eager to welcome us back home. Don’t let sin keep you from the love of God! Run to His mercy.
- Who do you identify as in the Parable? The father, the younger son, or the older brother?
- Have you ever squandered what was given to you as a blessing?
- Do you trust that the Father loves you so much that he would run to you?
- Have you allowed yourself to place your identity in your sin and not in the Father’s love for you?
- Do you believe that all that the Father has is for you?