Radiant with Joy
(4th Sunday of Lent: Joshua 5:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)
“Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.” These words in today’s Psalm refer to the Lord, but we can apply them to the prodigal son. Once he looked to his father, he found himself dressed in the finest robe, with a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
In the middle of this penitential season of Lent, the Church gives us Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday. Besides the specific references to joy in the Psalm and the Gospel, the readings are full of reasons to celebrate.
In the first reading, God says to his people, “Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.” They have crossed the Jordan and will now celebrate their first Passover in the promised land. They are truly a free people at last.
St. Paul speaks glowingly of reconciliation, which is God’s doing, and which we are called to accept. In our relationships with others, we know what reconciliation is like, when offender and offended are able to look at each other happily and recognize the “new creation” of love restored.
More joyous still is the reconciliation to which the Beautiful Lady of La Salette calls us. In entrusting her message to Mélanie and Maximin and to us, she has made us ambassadors for Christ. We can proclaim to all that God, “not counting their trespasses against them,” offers them the opportunity to return humbly to him and be in a right relationship with him.
Isn’t that what the story of the prodigal son is about? “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”
We could stop here, and this reflection would be complete. But let us use the remaining space for a couple additional thoughts.
Let us rejoice that, at the Easter Vigil, thousands will become a new creation through the waters of baptism and the anointing of the holy oil of confirmation and the bestowing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Let us, as the father says, “celebrate and rejoice” over every soul saved, for every sinner (ourselves included) who is reconciled with God, who “was dead and has come to life again; was lost and has been found.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.