Homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: A call to repentance
By: Rev Fr. Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
Homily for Sunday March 27 2022
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Today is one of those days, when I feel, a homily might steal the depth of the gospel reading. The parable that we heard read is a much-quoted story and we are all too familiar with it. But I will ride on this familiarity to bring the Gospel alive once again.
The central theme of the season of lent is repentance and a return to the mercy and love of God the Father. So our liturgy today presents us with the mercy of God, who through His ambassadors calls us to repentance.
Though the gospel passage of today is often regarded as the “The parable of the prodigal son” but the prodigal son is not the only character in the story. So we have three characters to reflect upon today.
In the father, we have a generous giver. The younger son requesting his share of their father’s inheritance is a death wish, one which is enough reason for the father to disown the younger son. It is more or less the younger son saying “Father why are you still alive? You are overstaying your existence.” But the father, we are told gave freely and generously the younger son’s share of his inheritance. We also see in the father a perfect lover, a merciful father (cf. Lk 15:20-24) and a consoler (cf. Lk 15:31-32).
In the younger son is a character who was restless and driven to experience whatever sinful pleasures money and wealth could buy. He wanted his share of the inheritance, and he wanted it immediately. In our culture, as it was in the Jewish culture, it was the height of disrespect and dishonour for the son to make this request while the patriarch of the family remained in such good health. And yet, he couldn’t seem to stop himself from chasing the golden goose and sowing his wild oats. But it wasn’t until his money ran out that he began to reflect upon just how good he had it before he went off on his lustful expedition and how foolish his choice was. His first movement of repentance was flawed (cf. vs 14-16). He thought he could salvage himself, but he was wrong. Eventually, he came to his senses and returned to the father.
The older son is appalled at the treatment of his brother and he challenged his father in pride and self-righteousness! He refused to go into the house and be in communion and fellowship with the father and his brother.
HOW THE CHARACTERS REFLECT US
The prodigal son:
This is typical of people who are self-centred, people who are wasteful with their gifts and talents. We do not merit our gifts and talents, yet God in His generousity lavished them on us. Many of us upon realizing our stupidity seek redemption outsides of God’s mercy. But wherever we go, we find no joy either.
The older son:
This reflecst those who feel on account of their relationship with God are the only deserving of salvation (the thinking of the Jews in the time of Jesus). Such people wonder why good things happen to bad people. Why evil men succeed in life. They lack the heart of love.
The loving Father:
This father is a symbol of God’s infinite mercy and tolerance towards us. A father who is ever waiting, looking out in expectation of our return to him.
God the Father is constantly inviting us to return to His loving forgiveness when we have sinned. We all have sinned and gone astray like the prodigal son. But we are called to remember God’s love once again in this holy season of lent. If you are at a very low point in your spiritual life today, don’t despair. Jesus told this parable to encourage you to “come home” and find relief and forgiveness from the God who loves you, and the Father who sent His only son to die on the cross for all of your sins. You really can come home, and you really will be accepted by the Father through faith in the Son.
*Rev Fr. Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*