Homily for the 4th (Laetare) Sunday of Lent, Year C

Reconciled with God through Christ

Readings: 1st: Jos 5:9-12; Ps 33; 2nd: I Cor 5:1-21; Gos: Lk 15:1-3.11-23

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him atcanice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

“Rejoice, O Jerusalem: Come together all you that love her; rejoice you that have been in sorrow; that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of her consolation.” On this fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church encourages us to: “Rejoice and be joyful” because Christ is willing to reconcile us to his Father.

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Once, a man became sick. He was told that the only condition to be healed was to forgive and reconcile with those who offended him. So, he wrote to his debtors and enemies: “My dear, having realized the power of forgiveness and reconciliation, I have canceled all the debts you owe me. Please let us continue to be friends again, and always pray for me!”

This is Providence in action. This man’s sickness was God’s way of mediating grace to his friends. In the same way, through his death, Christ reassures us that our “debt of sin” has been canceled. Also, His Sacraments mediate grace for us and reconcile us to God.

In today’s second reading, Paul tells us that we are “products of Christ’s reconciliation.” Christ took the first initiative of reconciling us to God. In order words, owing to sin, we were cut off from God. However, through the sacrifice of Christ, we became God’s adopted children. So, we are all children of the same father through Christ’s sacrifice.

In today’s gospel, through the story of the prodigal son, Jesus reassures us of God’s readiness to reconcile with us. The parable of the prodigal son is the story of a loving father and a humble and repented son. It is the story of reconciliation at its best. Most importantly, it reflects our own daily story and struggle.

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Hence, it does not matter how far we have gone away from God or how terrible our past was. What matters is that Christ is willing to reconcile us to his Father and restore our lost glory. He beckons on us: “Come let us settle the matter, though your sin is as red as scarlet, they will be white as snow” (Is:1:18).    

Therefore, this season we must constantly seek reconciliation with God through Christ. We must humbly rediscover ourselves, and like the prodigal son, we must confess: “I have sinned against heaven and earth.” We must also say to God, “I am coming home.” This is what Paul means when he appeals to us to reconcile to God. He simply asks us to realize who we are and change our track and mind like the prodigal son.

So, we must cast away all shame and pride in order to reconcile with God and others through Christ. Through his church, Christ has made things easy for us. He has given us the sacrament of reconciliation as a means of constantly reconciling ourselves to God.

The sacrament of reconciliation helps us in three ways: First, reconciliation with God. Second, reconciliation with our brothers and sister, reconciliation with oneself. One leads to the other. Our reconciliation with God is strongly dependent on our reconciliation with others and, of course, with ourselves.

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Therefore, this Lent, let us take advantage of this sacrament instituted by Christ through his Church to reconcile ourselves with God and with our neighbors. This sacrament is a blessing to all of us because it mediates God’s grace to us. So, the psalmist invites us today: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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