Your brother here was dead, and he came back to life.

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“Christ expresses to us the love of God that awaits us without ever despair.”

Readings: Fourth Sunday of Lent

Beloved by God, the Gospel we have just heard is one of the best-known biblical texts of Christians; it is the gospel of the parable of the lost and rediscovered son. In this story, Christ expresses to us the love of God that awaits us without ever despair. He also gives us this parable in response to the remark of the Pharisees who said: “This man welcomes sinners, and he eats with them.” For these Pharisees, who were looking for a certain perfection, it is a scandal to get together with the poor and sinners. That is why Jesus will try to make them understand the joy of God our Father, who welcomes all men and forgives everyone.

Indeed, the words that structure the text are those of joy and festive meal. The father of the prodigal son organizes a feast because it was necessary to feast well and rejoice for the return of the youngest. This is the first answer to the remark of the Pharisees who are surprised at the good reception and the meal shared with sinners. Jesus invites the pious Jews not to remain separated from the sinners who convert, but to welcome them, rejoice and feast. Thus, they will be able to join the attitude of God our Father who offers salvation in Jesus. If sin is first of all an attack on God's Love, why should the Pharisees be more demanding than the one who suffered the offense? The attitude of the eldest son, representing the Pharisees, allows us to understand their motivation.

First of all, when he meets his father, does not call the prodigal son “my brother” but “your son”. He seems to deny the brotherhood that binds them, he has nothing to do with the one who squanders the property of the family. What distinguishes him from the prodigal son is that he has been serving his father for so many years without ever disobeying his mind. How can his father treat the youngest who squanders wealth better than the elder who works faithfully? Then the father tries to explain to him: “First of all, he who has returned is not a stranger, he is your brother, despite everything, and whatever you think of it. And then my kindness to your brother does not take away anything from you, for our communion is perfect, all that is mine is yours. I am your father and not your master, as I am your brother's father and not his judge.”

To rejoice in the return of the prodigal son, the eldest son must first recognize him as his brother, and find a subsidiary relationship with his father. But how can he renew his relations if he remains at the level of moral judgment on their different attitudes? The eldest son puts forth his obedience, and when he sees his brother, what comes to his mind is not what is common to them, but what contrasts them: one went to live his life, the other stayed with his father for service. If the need for forgiveness and mercy of the Father is more evident to the youngest than to the elder, the latter forgets that he too lives from divine mercy. We are brothers because we are the sons of the same Father, who gives us true life in Jesus Christ.

In the passage of the Epistle to the Corinthians which we have read, St Paul calls us to recognize in Jesus the work of mercy and reconciliation desired by God: “For it is God who reconciles the world with him in Christ; he erases for all men the count of their sins, and puts in our mouths the word of reconciliation. We are therefore the ambassadors of Christ, and through us it is God himself who, in fact, makes a call to our brothers and sisters. In the name of Christ, we ask you, let yourself be reconciled with God.” To put it otherwise, let us not remain locked in our faults or our sufferings, let us know to welcome the grace that is offered to us.

To rejoice and feast with the Lord, we must find our rightful place with our brothers and our Father. In the Eucharistic meal that brings us together today, none of us deserves more than the others. Each of us personally receive the grace of the merciful love of the Father. Let us remember the parable of the ruthless debtor. A king had given one of his servants a debt of 60 million pieces of silver, but he did not want to remit a debt of a few pieces of silver to one of his companions. If we try to make comparisons between ourselves as regards holiness or merit, this is the word of the Lord that we must have in mind, from the point of view of the Lord. Our debt to the Lord is in the order of 60 million pieces of silver, while between us the debt is in the order of a few pieces of silver. In front of each of our sinful brethren, we should first be aware of our sin and not forget that, from the point of view of God, the difference between us is minimal.

Yes. We are brothers and sisters, because we are alike. The two brothers in the parable are not so different, the prodigal son is no better than the eldest son, he did not understand the love of the father better. He came back only by hunger, to have food after unscrupulously wasting family goods. Eldest son or prodigal son, none of them understood the depth and delicacy of fatherly love.

To let us reconcile with our Father, we are invited to recognize our fault and the vastness of God's love our Father. The thanksgiving that rises from our hearts at the same time as the recognition of our misery is a sign of a confession of our sins in the Holy Spirit. We are not of a different nature from all our brothers and sisters. In the eyes of merciful Love, we are all equal at the sinners table. The forgiveness and grace that our brothers receive in humanity remind us of forgiveness and mercy the church also lives. Let us ask the Lord to enlighten us about ourselves, and let us look around, especially those whose sins have hurt us, and let us rejoice in participating together in the feast of the Eucharist.

Together we are turned to the Father of Mercy to receive our measure of forgiveness, to allow us to be reconciled with Him. We feed together at the same table of the Eucharist of bread and wine that will never fail, of the body and blood of Christ “so that, thanks to him, we may witness the joy of believing in His Mercy”.


Chabi Rodrigue

Organ: At the Great Organ, Guy Didier

Artworks by J.S Bach

- Entry: “Fugua Sopra II Magnificat”

- Meditation: “Our Father in the Kingdom of Heaven” (version 1)

- Communion: “Our Father in the Kingdom of Heaven” (version 2)

- Release: Fantasy “I want to say goodbye”

On wikipedia:

John Sebastian Bach

The other homilies of Father Rodrigue Chabi

Also read: THE FIP of the week

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