The Fourth Sunday of Lent, "C" Cycle:
Meditations and Prayers for the Fourth Week of Lent
The Prodigal Son
by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Joshua 5:9a, 10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
The story of the prodigal son, one of the longest in the gospel, is also one of the most important. It’s not just about a boy who goes astray, of course, it’s about the whole human race gone wrong
“Give me what’s mine,” the son says boldly to his father, and he takes off for a faraway country, a permissive paradise that promises power and pleasure; in fact, it promises him everything.
But they’re empty promises, and soon the boy has nothing and ends up in a pigsty feeding pigs, who eat better than he does.
Then, he takes his first step back. He “comes to himself,” our story says; he realizes what he has done. “I have sinned.”
How straightforward his reaction! Not blaming anybody else for the mess he is in: not his father, or the prostitutes he spent so much of his money on, or society that took him in. No, it’s his own fault.
He doesn’t wallow in his sin and what it’s brought him, either. He looks to the place where he belongs, to his father’s house. It won’t be an easy road, but he takes it and starts back home.
His story is our story too.
How easily we leave your side,
Illustration: The Prodigal Son, Hieronymus Bosch, c. 1500
for a place far away.
We are blind in our darkness,
so open our eyes to our sins.
Unless you strengthen our spirits
and create our hearts anew,
we cannot make the journey home.
Guide us to your welcoming arms;
to the music and the dancing,
for we are easily lost,
and only you, our Father,
can find us.