Sunday Gospel reflections: God always welcomes us home

Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year C)
“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by James Tissot (1836–1902). Photo: Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum/Public Domain

An elderly woman I once knew often shared with me the concerns she had for her children. She had raised them in the faith. Each of them individually had the education, security, and love that offered them a strong foundation on which to build their futures. All too often, though, they wandered from the straight path.

Her grey hair was likely increased by the stress of assuming too many of their burdens too often. She wasn’t rich or well connected; she couldn’t solve all their many problems. She told me that she came to a point when she realized that her prayer was truly what she could offer them.

One by one her children found their own ways. One by one the care and love she so unstintingly gave them bore fruit. When I saw her in her final days, we were all gathered around her worn, frail body in a last celebration of her life and love.

The Lord tells Joshua in the First Reading that once the Israelites had arrived in Canaan, they were home, and their shame had been rolled away. God’s gift of manna lasted until they ate the firstfruits of their own labor. In the Gospel, the prodigal son came home. His father, bearing the fruit of his love, welcomed him. We will be welcomed home, too.

  — Michael Dougherty


Joshua 5:9A, 10–12

Psalm 34:2–3, 4–5, 6–7

2 Corinthians 5:17–21

Luke 15:1–3, 11–32

JesusLiving with ChristLuke 15:11-32Michael DoughertyThe Parable of the Lost SonThe Parable of the Prodigal Son
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