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Fourth Sunday of Lent - Cycle C

Homily Suggestions:

Jos 5:9a, 10-12
2 Cor 5:17-21
Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Watch a video with homily hints

The readings today present two equally important aspects of reconciliation, which have profound implications for the battle between the Culture of Death and the Culture of Life.

The second reading says, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,” and then says, “We implore you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God.” The preacher can raise the question for the congregation, “Who is doing the reconciling? If it is God who is doing it, then why are we implored to ‘be reconciled’?”

The Israelites, as the first reading says, were freed from Egypt and given the Promised Land – yet they still had to fight for it once there, and they still had to struggle to observe the way of life of the covenant. The Prodigal Son, in today’s Gospel passage, was greeted by a father who was already working reconciliation for him, eagerly anticipating his return. Yet he, too, had to work out his salvation. He had to struggle. He had to make a deliberate decision to renounce his way of life, get up, and make the journey back to the father.

Reconciliation is never achieved passively. And both in the case of the Israelites and the Prodigal Son, a key motive to doing what needed to be done on their part to be reconciled to God was that they had reached a dead end. Life in slavery was not appealing, and life for the son, far away from the father, had likewise lost its appeal. A dead end has tremendous persuasive power.

We have reached a dead end in this nation with the practice of abortion. Though abortion advocates promised 40 years ago that legalizing abortion would reduce child abuse and a host of other social ills, just the opposite has happened, and those ills have become worse. The men and women of the “Silent No More Awareness Campaign” (SilentNoMoreAwareness.org) witness to the nation that their involvement in abortion solved nothing, but rather brought many problems of its own. That is why, as they recall their abortions, they demand that the government recall this dangerous product from circulation (see RecallAbortion.com).

It is time for the nation to be reconciled with God. The hard work of reconciliation on our part includes the work of being reconciled with all our brothers and sisters. We cannot be reconciled to God unless we move toward our brothers and sisters to be reconciled with them – and this includes our unborn brothers and sisters. It includes everyone. Being reconciled with the unborn means recognizing them as persons like ourselves, speaking up for their rights, and working for their protection.

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