for Sunday, March 6, 2016
Perhaps this Sunday we can focus on a theme from the second reading, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians: be reconciled to God. All three readings today can be understood in the light of these words: be reconciled to God. We should be able to understand with Saint Paul that the world has completely changed because of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first reading today is from the Book of Joshua, which is about the Chosen People entering the Promised Land. As the Chosen People come to the Promised Land, the gift of Manna ends for them and they begin to eat normal food once again. The Chosen People have been reconciled to God and do not need a special food any longer. For you and for me, when we enter heaven, we will no longer need the Blessed Sacrament because we will live fully in the presence of God the Father, of Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit. Just as Manna was food for the people during their time of traveling to the Promised Land, so also is the Eucharist our daily bread during our time living on this earth preparing for Heaven.
We need to note, however, as did Saint Paul in another place, that God was not pleased with many of the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. All of them had to die because of their unfaithfulness. This is a sobering lesson for us today, who often presume that everyone will be saved. The message is not that all will not be saved, but that God can be disappointed with us for not living in His love, which He freely gives us. God invites us to be reconciled to Him.
The second reading tells us that Jesus Himself is pleading with us to be reconciled to God. Always it should strike us that God wants us and yet so often we do not want God. God is always willing to forgive and yet we want to continue in our sinfulness. May this time of Lent bring about a true change within us.
The Gospel today, from Saint Luke, is one of the most touching teachings of the New Testament. The characters are strong and clear: a loving father who always forgives and shows love and never holds sins again his children; a son who doesn't care about anything except himself and takes his inheritance and wastes it and then comes home; the older brother who has always been faithful but is now filled with resentment because the father loves his son who wasted everything.
When we hear this teaching, it is not meant so that we can judge others. This is a teaching inviting you and me to repentance. We need to recognize each of those sons in ourselves and we need to pray that we may be as loving and forgiving as the father. This is being reconciled to God: love all others, no matter what they have done, no matter if they hate you, no matter if they try to kill you, no matter if they make fun of you. Love, mercy and forgiveness are the heart of following Jesus.
Forgive us our trespasses, O Lord, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Joshua 5.9a, 10-12
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5.17-21
Gospel: Luke 15.1-3, 11-32
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: