Joshua 5:9a, 10-12
1. How does God take care of you in your daily life? Was God as present to the Israelites in their daily lives in the Promised Land as in the desert? Is this true for you, metaphorically speaking?
2. This reading and the Gospel are about coming home. How does that idea relate to Lent? What is your spiritual home?
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
1. “And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ.” Some synonyms for reconcile are: forgive, restore harmony, rectify, patch up, reunite, bury the hatchet, appease, arbitrate. Wherever there is injustice in the world something is not reconciled. What might the Church do to change an unjust or unfair situation? What could your parish do? What can you do?
2. “ … behold, new things have come.” Does God continue to do “new things”? Could our synodality in the Church be a new way of God speaking to us and the world?
Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., says in his poem, That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire, “I am all at once what Christ is since he was what I am.” Does this mean that Christ lives within us if we consent? Explain.
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
1. When the Pharisees accused him of eating with sinners, Jesus responded with the parable of the Prodigal Son. In what way was Jesus “prodigal”? What was Jesus telling us about God’s forgiveness? In the story did the son have to ask for forgiveness or did he just start on the road back home? Do you forgive easily? Is it easy or difficult for you to ask for forgiveness? What are your feelings about the older brother’s behavior in this parable?
2. How does the story end? Does the older brother take part in the celebration or not? According to Pope Francis, how will creating “a culture of mercy” make the story end well?
By his unwillingness to take part in the celebration, the older son fails not only to recognize his brother, but his father as well. …
The Gospel parable leaves us with an open ending. We see the father asking the older son to come in and share in the celebration of mercy. The Gospel writer says nothing about what the son decided. Did he join the party? We can imagine that this open ending is meant to be written by each individual and every community. We can complete it by the way we live, the way we regard others, and how we treat our neighbor. The Christian knows that in the Father’s house there are many rooms. The only ones who remain outside are those who choose not to share in his joy. …
I encourage you to continue to let the culture of mercy grow, a culture in which no one looks at others with indifference, or averts his eyes in the face of their suffering (cf. Misericordia et Misera, 20). Keep close to the little ones and the poor, and to all those who are rejected, abandoned and ignored. Continue to be a sign of the Father’s loving embrace.
Pope Francis' Journey to Morocco
4th Sun of Lent, March 31, 2019