Lectio Divina: 2022-03-25

Our Lectio Divina considered the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent Year C.

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Your brother here was dead and has come to life.

One

This parable is one that has always touched a nerve with me. The reason is; it relates so closely to my relationship with Jesus. On many occasions I have acted like the first son. My human nature has allowed me to drift apart from God. I know what’s best for me !!!! Only for me to realise I am nothing without the love of Our Saviour. The hard part is to admit my weakness and ask for God’s forgiveness.

The father in the parable is full of joy when he sees his son returning. Likewise with God who has shown me total and utter forgiveness and love. Logically my human mind cannot understand why he forgives me . However, my soul feels his love and forgiveness. There is joy in our repentance and his graces are real . What a truly wonderful saviour we have.

Two

I love this parable. Like most of us I have studied this Gospel passage many, many times in the past.  I have also been asked to choose which character I feel most like. It is impossible. I can identify with all the characters in it. I can feel the regret of the prodigal, I can feel the anger of the son who stayed loyal and I can feel the love, compassion and joy of the father. I think I may have said a different character depending on where I was in my life journey. As I am now a parent I think I would relate more to the father as there is nothing my children could do that would make me love them any less. I may not always like what they do but my love for them isn’t negotiable. 

I know that God’s love is even greater than that and I am so grateful and happy that He never gives up on us. He welcomes us back no matter how many times we let Him down. He is delighted each time we turn to Him in repentance and sorrow for our sins. He forgives us time, after time, after time. Thanks be to God.

God bless everyone and stay safe. Pray for peace in the world.

Three

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

What an amazing image this conjures up in my mind. God loves me so much that when I return to him in repentance after my wanderings he runs to meet me filled with compassion and puts his arms around me. No questions asked, no punishment given – just love and compassion which is beyond our human understanding. 

The passage is beautiful yet challenging. There are times when I can identify with the first son but God shows me a different way- a loving way to respond. I can also be like the second son – wandering away from God and “doing my own thing”

No matter which one I identify with the message from God is of love, compassion and forgiveness and I am humbled and blessed.

Love and blessings.

Four

This is my favourite parable because it is about unconditional love. The more I read the parable the more it reminds me how incredibly compassionate and forgiving is our God. It reminds me to accept others no matter what their faults, to love them and to forgive them. The final words of the parable always fill me with such hope “he was lost and is found” Amen.

Five

The story of the Prodigal Son can be heard over and over again in the  life of the recovering addict. I have been privileged to hear many of those stories and am always moved by the moment when he or she hits the bottom and cries out for help, and God, who has always been there waiting, steps in to welcome them home. They may not recognize God’s disguise at first but as they recover physically, mentally and spiritually, they are able to see God’s hand at work. A story of surrender, forgiveness, repentance, healing and great love. A story that gives us all hope.

Those that have been watching from the side-lines like the older son, may find it difficult to welcome their brother home. They may feel justified in holding on to their anger resentment and bitterness and unable to see that they too are lost and have been deaf to the call of the Beloved.

God in His great mercy gave us free will and the choice is between holding on and letting go, sickness or wholeness. He is always ready to welcome us home and offer the path that leads to healing, the question is are we?

You will show me the path that leads to life.

Psalm 16 11

Six

As it is a day of “Solemnity plus” for us Catholics today, I did this week’s lectio yesterday. I share some of my ponderings in brief.

I was very struck by the extent of the younger son’s hunger as he fed the pigs.

I got to pondering on hunger. Last I knew “Mary’s Meals” had reached their 2,000,000th child, providing just one meal a day in a place of education. One meal gave them vitality, a smile and a heart of gratitude. More millions of people don’t have that one meal. I thought of the people of Ukraine facing dire hunger for the first time and how painful that must be.

I wondered about Lenten fasts and asked myself if I have reached true hunger, where I have desperately realised my dependency, either on food, or certain items of food, or certain habits. Has this hunger sent me running to my Father in my great need? The true answer is more “no” than “yes”, I think. There is a long way to go and three weeks to pray at this special time for the grace to realise my utter dependence on God and to strive to live only in obedience to the Divine Will. 

Jesus, you said “My meat is to do the will of him who sent me.”  During this time of grace, please grant me to rely more solely on God’s love for all needs of my soul and body and to be more in tune with those who have few material goods but great trust in you.

Seven

My words were ‘he was lost and is found.‘ 

Jesus gives 3 examples of lost and found. A sheep, a coin and a person. 

Each time it escalates. The people of that time would know how valuable a sheep was and the coin may have been worth a few months wages. But with the third ,Jesus is lavish with the story and the telling of the fathers total compassion, of how he doesn’t care where he had been or what he has been doing or how sinful he was but just that he is now found and back with the father. The Pharisees must have found this so hard because not one bit of the sons restoration was from the boys doing, it was all from the Father – all the boy had to do was turn around, change his direction, repent and come back into the Father’s open arms. 

What an amazing example of the Father’s love for us. 

God bless you all

Eight

My words were ‘My son you are with me always‘ and ‘Lost and found

When listening to this Gospel when younger, I used to identify myself with the oldest son; due mainly to a familiar situation.

Later in life I saw myself better represented in the younger brother role.

Afterwards, especially after the death of my dear Dad, I found myself more attracted by the figure of the compassionate and merciful father. This has been my main aim in these last few years, to be more like the Father, who loves me no matter what, and is always ready with his arms open, waiting for me to come back to Him.

I found I am being called to, my mission is to be merciful and compassionate, not only with children, but also with others who have hurt me.

Therefore I think we, through our lives, can change positions, exchange roles in this Gospel story. Though despite whatever I/we do, there is always a permanent presence, that of God by me/us saying ‘My son/ daughter you are with me always‘. Because at different times in live I/ we all was/were lost and being found by You, our Lord.

You call us to repentance, and at the same time open the door to forgiveness.
THANK YOU LORD

A Poem-Prayer for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Lady Mary, teach me to love
as you taught Jesus to love,
for I would be your fated son
as He was once, your little Son
who is now the Lord of all
though you are still His Lady Mother
as I beg you will be, Lady Mary,
mine. 
Amen.

Fr Joe Tetlow, SJ