Fourth Sunday of Lent C
March 10. 2013
Reading I: Joshua 5:9a, 10-12
Last Sunday’s second reading interpreted the manna as a type
of the Eucharist. Today’s Old Testament reading tells us that
the manna ceased when the first Passover was celebrated in the
So, too, the Eucharist will cease when it finds
its fulfillment in the messianic banquet of the kingdom of God.
Responsorial Psalm: 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Of this psalm the Jerome
Biblical Commentary states: “A wisdom psalm,
though it is widely classified as a psalm of thanksgiving.”
because of verse 8a, which serves as the refrain (“Taste
and see the goodness of the Lord”), this psalm was
used in the early Church during the time of communion.
Reading II: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
It is remarkable
that Paul should appeal to the very people he calls a “new
creation” to be reconciled to Christ.
This is because
the community’s status as the new creation is not an assured
possession but something that must constantly be worked at.
To renew that status is the work of the apostolic ministrythe
“ministry of reconciliation,” as Paul calls it.
saving act in Christ and the ongoing work of the apostolic
are not to be separated. The second is an extension of the
first, part of the same salvation history.
This salvation history is inaugurated by an event in which “for our sake
he made him to be sin who knew no sin.” This bold affirmation can best
understood in the light of the Marcan-Matthean word from the cross: “My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Here Jesus enters the deepest consequences
of human sinour alienation from God. He takes his stand where we are as
sinners, under the wrath of God, alienated from him, so that we may become what
he, Jesus, isthe righteousness of God.
The Greek Fathers were really saying
the same thing when they asserted that Christ partook of our human nature in
order that we might become partakers of his divine nature.
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
The second reading provides
the right context for the interpretation of the parable of the prodigal son.
parable is often understood as a simple illustration of God’s readiness to forgive
in response to repentance, without the necessity of Christ’s atoning
death on the cross. “There is no place for Jesus in the parable of the
son,” it has been said.
But the Jesus of the parables is never promulgating
timeless truths of religion and ethics; he is always commenting on what is happening
concretely in his own ministry.
The Pharisees were grumbling because Jesus was eating with outcasts (vv. 1-3:
the Roman and Lutheran Lectionaries wisely start with this setting, while the
Episcopal Lectionary less wisely omits it).
The parable is a comment on Jesus’
action in eating with outcasts. He is not left out of the parable for the simple
reason that the parable presupposes and interprets his action.
When Jesus eats
with outcasts, it is not just humanitarian broadmindedness, as though the laws
of God or the Pharisaic regulations did not matter; it is God breaking
through the condemnation of his own law in order to reach out and save the lost.
Reginald H. Fuller
Copyright © 1984
by The Order of St. Benedict, Inc., Collegeville,
Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used by
permission from The Liturgical Press,
Collegeville, Minnesota 56321
Preaching the Lectionary:
The Word of God for the Church Today
Reginald H. Fuller. The Liturgical Press.
1984 (Revised Edition), pp. 335, 412-413.
you to Liturgical Press who makes
this page possible
more information about the 3rd edition (2006) of
the Lectionary click picture
Art by Martin Erspamer, O.S.B.
from Religious Clip Art for the
Liturgical Year (A, B, and
Used by permission of Liturgy
Training Publications. This art may
be reproduced only by parishes who
purchase the collection in book or
CD-ROM form. For more information go