IV SUNDAY OF LENT
joshua 5:9a, 10-12; 2 corinthians 5:17-21; luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
my sister (and her family) and i were home for christmas a few years ago. we reached in time for lunch. boy! what a spread there was! the table was groaning… there was almost every animal from the ark and each one’s favourite dish. in the days we were home, mum made «what you don’t get in bombay/pune»! it was a veritable home-coming… signified—among other things—by what we ate! the food was a symbol of our parents’ love and their joy at having us home.
home-coming… this phrase sums up this sunday’s readings.
in the first reading, israel is on the threshold of the promised land, and is about to begin a new life in their homeland. this is signified by what they eat: not the manna they ate in the desert, but «the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain».
the gospel recounts the return of the prodigal son. his home-coming, too, is signified by what he eats: not what he ate when he was away from home, not the pods on which the swine fed, but a home-cooked family feast. the feast was a sign of the father’s happiness at having his son home.
reconciliation—as paul writes in ii corinthians and JESUS indicates in the parable—is home-coming!
will i—this sunday and this lent—return «home» and partake of the feast the LORD has prepared for me? will i allow the FATHER to forgive me? is there anyone i need to welcome «home»?