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Sunday, March 22, 1998

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4th Sunday of Lent

Joshua 5:9, 10-12
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Psalm 34
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

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the prodigals' victims

"But we had to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found." —Luke 15:32

If someone raped and murdered your daughter and then repented, would you attend the party given by God in honor of the repentant rapist-murderer?  If you are a normal human being, you would grow "angry at this and would not go in" (Lk 15:28).

By God's grace, there are many repentant rapists, murderers, blasphemers, persecutors, and men and women formerly filled with arrogance (see 1 Tm 1:13). God the Father is constantly throwing parties for all His returned prodigal children, and He invites all their victims and their families to come to the celebration. However, those who see themselves as victimized, rather than prodigal, naturally don't feel like going to the party.

Only by accepting God's grace to forgive the prodigals will the victims be able to come to the party. There they may realize that the prodigals are victims and the victims prodigals. There they will see even more clearly not only the horror of sin but also the miraculous glory of repentance and forgiveness. There they will see the Victim Who is not a prodigal. There they will see God.

Prayer:  Father, by Your grace, may I forgive everyone for everything.

Promise:  "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new!" —2 Cor 5:17

Praise:  Praise and honor to You, forgiving and merciful Lord Jesus Christ!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997