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6th March 2016 - 4th Sunday of Lent C

posted 5 Mar 2016, 01:05 by St Wilfrid RC Haltwhistle


H.B. & Hw.

"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." That is the

charge. Jesus is charged with scandalous love for sinners.

Indiscriminate table-fellowship. Jesus' defence is the parable of

the Prodigal Son.

We look at the Prodigal Son and see Everyman. The grass is

always greener in the next field. We all try it on in some way.

Pack our bags, fly the nest And the Lord gives us space New

found liberty persuades us that we have cracked it. No more old

fashioned, familial or religious constraints. Our, oh so subtle

self-indulgence is a kind of reckless debauchery, even though it

does not seem that dramatic.

And the good times do not last Dispirited, disillusioned, we

suffer a kind of starvation when we know it does not have to be

like this The very thought of what we have thrown away stops

us in our tracks. And shortly we are on our way back with our

guilt clinging to us like a second skin. Such is the way with our

prodigal self.

And the Lord is a 'looking out for us' Lord. A 'scanning the

horizon' Lord in expectation of our return. Sensitive to our first

glimmer of response, convention goes! We are swept up by a

'running to us' Lord, clasped and kissed. Tenderly. We are


accepted unconditionally, no questions asked. No promises

extracted from us about being good. Even our apologies are cut

short by the Lord's insistence that we receive only the best, by

the Lord's insistence that we celebrate. "This son/daughter of

mine" the Lord says, "was dead and has come back to life;...

was lost and is found". The joy of the Lord has an intensity

which is bewildering. It is the flip side of the Lord's scandalous

love for sinners.

Despite all this there is an elder son in us. The elder son in us

refuses to allow us to forgive ourselves. It's the proud

perfectionist in us. Totally lacking the Lord's generosity. The

elder son in us cannot cope with a God who makes the sinless

one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of

God. The elder son in us refuses to celebrate. Cannot accept

our self as the Lord accepts us, unconditionally. The elder son

in us would reduce the Lord to our standards of forgiveness and

acceptance. Anything else is irresponsible! A waste of

resources! The elder son in us is in fact, consumed with self‑

pity. The elder son in us is a legalist, responding to law but not

to the demands of love. The demands of love are the only

demands in the new creation. The demands of love are the only

criteria in the new dispensation ushered in by Christ the Lord.

The Christ who in every age will be charged with scandalous

love for sinners.