Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The Gospel reading comes from the 15th Chapter of Luke which tells the well-known story of the Prodigal Son.
The Gospel parable of the Prodigal Son illustrates God’s unconditional acceptance and forgiveness. God is a God of endless second chances. No human being can escape making mistakes. If we are wise, we learn from them. I have been a very slow learner. The deeper message of the parable of the Prodigal Son is that God allows us to make our own way through life, even when the path we choose is a dead end. God gives us the freedom to make mistakes, to make bad choices. But God is always there, always ready to warmly embrace us when we turn around and head in the right direction. God gives us the freedom to be co-creators of the gift of life God gave us. Whether we choose to walk with God or without God, God’s love remains constant. No matter what we do in life, no matter how bad our screw-ups, God is there to help us pick ourselves up and start over. The journey through life is a twisting path, filled with ups and downs, possibilities and potholes, consolations and desolations. The journey is hard. We must climb mountains of problems and traverse deserts of doubt. But God is there walking with us, pointing the way, and so there is no need to fear or falter.
Life, the Gospel proclaims over and over again, prevails over death. The story of Jesus does not end on the cross but in the resurrection. God is not finished with me…or you. God is always laboring to bring about a new creation in each of us…especially when others seem intent on judging and destroying us. Jesus wants us to know joy and fulfillment, even in the midst of our suffering. Jesus calls each of us out of the tomb of our mistakes. Like he did with Lazarus, Jesus wants to unbind us so we can be fully alive.
Take a moment and breathe in God’s love…and then be still and see where you are on your journey to God.