Dear Sacred Heart Family,
We have three weeks left in Lent. At the end of this week, we will follow the Church’s liturgical practice of covering our crucifixes and statues with purple, as we enter into the two weeks of Passiontide. We are in the final couple “laps” of Lent, and there are so many graces that Our Lord will continue to pour into our lives, as we approach the Holiest Week of the Year.
As we begin the fourth week of Lent, perhaps we can take four “words” for our contemplation and prayer this week, from this Sunday’s Gospel reading.
“Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.” The prodigal son doesn’t wish for a relationship with his Father. He wants the inheritance, the gift, but has no desire for the giver. Perhaps if we knew his story more, we might relate. There could be many reasons why he was wounded, but he didn’t yearn for his father’s love.
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.” Once he squandered his blessings, it began to dawn on him, how much he had lost. Maybe he was wrestling with despair? Was it too late for him to realize how foolish he had been, ungrateful, and terrified that he had burned that bridge.
“Not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.” The older brother resented his father’s love. He obeyed, was dutiful, but was also deeply hurt. How could his father celebrate over the traitor? Why didn’t he get a share in the wealth?
“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.” For both of these sons, these children, they didn’t know or understand their father’s love. How many years of family relationships had led to this point? How much suffering, doubt and pain contributes to a crisis like this? How could someone spend so many years with a loving father and not know they were loved, nor even want that love?
Perhaps this is true of us? Not merely in our earthly relationships, but with God as well, we can be wounded and estranged. The Lenten journey doesn’t lead to a stronger will, a smaller waistline or a more rigorous prayer life. The journey of Lent is an invitation into the Father’s love, into His Heart.
Perhaps we have been obedient and never understood we were loved. Perhaps we were wild and rebellious and didn’t want our Father’s love. For all of us, sons and daughters, have we known as personal reality, “My child, you are here with me . . . everything I have is yours.”
Understanding, receiving, and being transformed by Our Father’s Love is the adventure of a lifetime. Hopefully we have known this for years; perhaps we never have experienced this. Today, this week, this Lent, let us open our hearts to the Father’s Love. May our sacrifices create space for it. May our service open us to receive it. May our giving remind us how much He wants to give to, and through, us.
We can be both prodigal and resentful, and deeply unaware of how and why we should trust Him. He knows. Yet He is always scanning the horizon. He looks for us to return up the pathway home, to remind us that everything is ours, that He is ours, and we are meant to be His. Let’s say yes; for the first time, and everyday.
In Our Lady's Immaculate Heart,
Rev. Bjorn C. Lundberg