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Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 6, 2016

FORGIVENESS IS TERRIFYING

In her book Woman and the Word, Sandra Schnieders writes that this parable, which we all know so well, actually constitutes a radical challenge to patriarchy (and I would add traditional understandings of authority and relationship). She writes, “The divine father, who had been understood as the ultimate justification of human patriarchy, is revealed as the one who refuses to own us, demand our submission, or punish our rebellion. Rather, God is the one who respects our freedom, mourns our alienation, waits patiently for our return, and accepts our love as pure gift.

In the parable God tries to educate the older brother, and through him all disciples who prefer the security of the law to the adventure of grace.” And in doing so he also heals the traditional understanding of authority.

But even now, I think we still have to learn this lesson for how many of us prefer the security of law to the adventure of grace? We want control, but what we need is surrender. For only then do we know true freedom – only then do we experience mercy.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)

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