A Gospel Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

by Gary Tester, Executive Director


As I read today’s Gospel about the Prodigal Son I recognize that I’ve often thought how the love of the father in this story is so beautifully portrayed.  We read nothing about harsh words when his younger son seeks his inheritance to go and see the world.  We read nothing about the father venting hard feelings to his older son or anyone else.  What we do read is that the father watches for his younger son to return and is overcome with love when he views him from afar.  Those open arms mean everything.  I think that is what I’ve quickly come to love and appreciate about the services of Catholic Charities – open arms.  What a beautiful space to occupy in a world torn with strife, hate, anger, fear, arrogance and evil – loving, open arms.  Whether we are feeding the hungry, lifting those in danger of financial crisis, visiting and caring for the sick or greeting the stranger, we are there with open, loving, welcoming arms.  In the parable the prodigal son is uncertain about whether he will be welcomed back but knows it is his only option.  Those who come through our doors of mercy at Catholic Charities seeking assistance are also uncertain about what their reception will be and whether they will be helped.  They often believe we are their only option. How blessed we are to open our arms with love to extend the mercy of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to those in need.  Indeed, as expressed in today’s second reading, our hope should be that after coming through our doors, the person in need is indeed a renewed creation, touched by the love of Christ.