God’s Universal & Personal Love

4th Sunday of Lent
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran 

God’s love is universal and at the same time, it is personal. Our God is concerned for each person individually yet at the same time he loves us the whole community. God loved the world so much that He sent only Son to gather us together so that we may have new life in Him. God also sends us to carry his divine love into the world and to share this message of life and light.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is called Rejoice (Laetare) Sunday anticipating Easter joy. Today’s readings invite us to rejoice by being reconciled with God through repentance and the confession of our sins and celebrating our coming home to be with our loving and forgiving God.

The First Reading tells us that Israel had reached the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. Their arrival was made possible by a miracle of the Lord. Just as the Red sea opened up for them as they escaped Egypt, the Israelites could live freely in their own country. The reading tells us that they happily ate the produce of the land. The manna which was their food for forty years ceased to come from heaven. The people could now enjoy the abundance of the Promised Land.

In the Second Reading, St Paul tells the Corinthians that if anyone is in Christ, there is already a new creation everything old has passed away, and everything has become new! Paul tells them that everything is from God, who reconciled them to himself through Christ and has given them the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus is the mediator in the process and our part is to accept God’s gift of Reconciliation. He invites them to remember that God for our sake made Christ be sin who was sinless so that in Him might become the righteousness of God. In other words, our sins are forgiven so we can share in the very holiness of God.

In today’s gospel, we have the story of the Prodigal Son which presents us with a picture of God is Love, care, and forgiveness. In the parable, we are given a most beautiful description of our heavenly Father. He is outside of the house waiting for the younger son to return. He is certain that he will return to him. When the son returns, his father runs to him, clasped him in his arms, kisses him tenderly and he brings him in and throws a party for him. When we return to God, He throws a party for us too.

The Father immediately readmits him as part of the family and gives the order to bring the robe, the ring, the sandals, and to kill the fatted calf for a celebration. The son had no understanding of what mercy really meant. Now he learns the depth of the love of the Father. In this parable, Jesus teaches us the depth of the generosity of God and His mercy. God, our heavenly Father, is always waiting at the door for us to come to Him. At every Mass, we receive the same invitation from Jesus, to share his body and blood and, hence, his forgiveness.

The lost son realized that in his father’s house there was sustenance for him. So he humbled himself, willing, if necessary, to be his father’s servant, and started back home. This turning away from sin and toward God is the first indication of His love for us.

This parable says that God is at work. That he is able to see the younger son when he was still a long way off means that the father has been watching for his son, waiting for him, longing for him. The father runs to him, embraces him, loves him, and gives him gifts. This is a wonderful picture of the great love of God towards us. He seeks after us, reaches out to us. When we come to Him, He washes away all our evil deeds of the past, not holding them against us. The road back to God is sometimes long, but easy.

One Response to “God’s Universal & Personal Love”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    God is so good at making a way to come Home!

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