Fourth Sunday of Lent Cycle C

Our readings for this Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent are here.

Again, these are my notes and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the

  • Noon & 5PM Masses on March 6, 2016.  


The poem Fr Dennis references is:

In 2016, we reflected on … a lot! 

  • The Prodigal Son Parable is tough to preach because it has been preached on and written about so much!  So, if there was something that stuck with you or jumped out, stay with that.
  • We’re in Laetare Sunday, Rejoice!  — a bit of light for all of us, and the mark of the final stretch for the catechumens.  So keep them in heart and prayer.
  • In the first reading, we’re told of another mystery of the Hebrews’ exodus that once the Israelites reached Canaan, after 40 years in the desert and however many years of eating manna provided nightly by God, they eat their first food made from their first harvest from the new land.  The manna had been one sign of their total dependence on God, in addition to other such signs like God accompanying them as the pillars of cloud and fire.  In other words, in the promised land, you can cultivate your own food.  God no longer needs to provide it.
    • Even nowadays, we still need to live, work, and provide to community; we must sow, cultivate, and harvest our food for all of us to survive.
    • And this is an important realization for us and for our catechumens: we start our journey from an inspired place, but don’t think the entire journey is going to be like this.  We have to engage and offer on our part, too, to follow God.
  • In the second reading, we are all to be ambassadors for God through words and actions.  We are reconciled to God; God continues to show mercy, but also gives us lives to live in — work, mercy, and reconciliation.  Be an ambassador of God’s Mercy.
  • Prodigal Son Parable —  a great story for the catechumens whether they were wandering (Prodigal Son) or a bit uppity (oldest son).  It is given to the Scribes and the Pharisees as an indirect answer to them because they’re likely to get lost in the story, when, in fact, it is an answer.
    • the younger son is essentially treating his father as dead when he asks for his future 1/2 of the property while his father is still alive
    • the Pharisees and Scribes would have recognized compassion and wasteful extravagance in the father’s joy and compassion to the younger son as an image of God.
  • Rainey tips in that this is one of five times a particular form of mercy is expressed through the Greek verb, σπλαγχνιση, a very visceral, deep gut, heart-rending form of compassion and is only used with Jesus or a parable character as an image of God.  It is used in the Gospel of Luke to describe the response by the Good Samaritan on seeing the wounded traveler, of the father in the Prodigal Son parable when he sees his lost son returning destitute in all ways, and Jesus meeting with the widow of Nain.  The Gospel according to Matthew (14:14), uses this verb when Jesus fed the 5000.  The Gospel according to Mark uses it when Jesus notes the people are so hungry for the Word and healing, they are like a flock without a shepherd (Mk 6:34, Mt 9:36).  This is God’s Mercy, and what we are called to be Ambassadors of.
  • Milburn’s poem, “To My Son’s Girlfriend,” shares a sense of the proprietary nature of God’s Love , what it means to be a father and a Father and grow in our understanding of God’s Mercy and Love.

Switching up from the SALT Lectionary Van Gogh this week for some spot on Rembrandt!  Maybe the parish will bring down our copy of the print of the painting version I linked to. The featured image of this week is a different sketch Rembrandt made of the same scene (and available a the Cleveland Museum of Art). I found it quite a different viewing experience from the painting!

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