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Lent 2022: Fourth Sunday

Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 27, 202

Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

“His father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.”

Luke’s Gospel shares the familiar story of the prodigal son. I imagine we can identify with each person in the story, the father, prodigal son and elder son. Like the father, we celebrate the return of dear loved ones. Maybe we are the son/daughter who left, realized our mistake and returned home. Or, perhaps, we relate to the elder son, who is self-righteous and thinks he deserves better for all his hard work. This passage allows us to reflect on how we experience sin, forgiveness and compassion in our lives.

The father’s attitude grabs my attention. I picture him more as a caring mother, like mine. When I was a teenager out at parties, my mother stayed awake until I came home. Even now, when I come home my mother welcomes me with my favorite food, a clean room and anything I need to feel comfortable. This made me wonder, where is the prodigal son’s mother? What might she have done to welcome her son? Have we questioned her presence in this passage? And, can we see God as a compassionate and forgiving mother?

Reflecting on these questions, I realized that this parable teaches us about reconciliation. But it can also prompt us to consider how women promote compassion in our Church and societies. This story is also a reminder of our need to experience the divine feminine, who lovingly accompanies us in our journeys.

Reflection questions

  • Who are the women in my life who have taught me about compassion, mercy and forgiveness?
  • How do I experience the divine feminine in my life?

—Sister Laura Guadalupe Tiburcio Santos, CSC