YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT
THEME: AND YOU ARE ALSO FREE TO CHOOSE
BY:. Christian Eze
First reading – Joshua 5:9-12
Second reading – II Cor. 5:17-21
Gospel – Lk 15:1-3,11-32
Choice is one of the most important things in human life. God created man a free being. Freedom, a free gift of God, is among what makes us special among other created things. We all crave to be ourselves, I mean to exercise this gift of freedom thereby always longing to choose for ourselves. Unfortunately, the very first time humans made use of this freedom to choose, he made a very wrong choice. In Gen 3, we read how God gave order to man and the later chose to do otherwise. It was such a painful one that we were told God regretted ever creating man (Gen 6:5-6). I would think that God regretted leaving man free. Yet, He never went back on what He has made to be so. Man remained free. In life, we can bear the circumstances we chose by ourselves more than what we were forced into. You can bear the wife you chose more than that which your mother or father asked you to marry. We do not validly wed anyone who cannot make choice of who to marry. Thus in many things we do, including our loyalty to God, our day to day activities, choice must be involved.
Today, we can observe how the prodigal son, out of his own free will, chose to leave his father’s house which brought him sufferings at last. And when “he came back to his senses”, he also decided to return back to his father. The Father does not mandate us forcefully to pledge him our loyalty. We can also observe that the elderly son never understood why he chose to stay; he also was not a happy man. We must serve God with conviction and not out of a here say. It is one thing to be born a Christian; it is another to choose to remain one. It is one thing to be born a Catholic; it is another to choose to remain one. To be born a Christian, a Catholic, could be an accident. But to decide to remain one is a decision. Are you just a follower of Christ because you were born into it? Decisions are made after due consideration of important factors. Concerning our call to decide for God, may be the case of the prodigal son can teach us.
One, there is no peace outside home. We are created; said St Augustine, for God and our souls will not know any rest until they rest in Him. No matter how attractive life outside God may seem, it ends in total disappointment and bitterness. The book of proverbs understood this very well when it said: “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is the ways of death” – Prov. 14:12.
Again, it is easier to destroy than to build up. It is easier to break away from the Father than to re-unite with Him again. Sin is easier than repentance. We can notice how the young man went off from home in affluence and with relative ease. He may have taken flight since it was a distant country. But coming back in poverty was difficult indeed. He came back probably bare footed after a long trekking for days. I believe he must have found his initial decision easier than the later. Yet, he made it. No matter how long you have been away from God, no matter how heavy you might think your sins are; you too can take a bold step to decide to go to confessions, turn to God and regain your happiness. The more you postpone your decision, the more you postpone your happiness.