Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Feb 28, 2013 | Comments (0)

Fourth Sunday in Lent: It's About the Joy

Bottom Line Spirituality: Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 “All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Him.”

Jesus loved being human. His greatest joy was being with people. That is why the sinners gathered around Him. He was non judgmental, loving but best of all they all had a good time. 

The Pharisees did not interrupt Jesus and His group. They preferred to murmur away from them but loud enough so their griping could be heard by all. "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."

Jesus then leaves His group and calmly walks over to the Pharisees and tells the familiar story we call the “Prodigal Son.”

There is the Hero: The youngest son. He wastes his whole inheritance on wild living in a distant country. He comes to himself. On returning home, he rehearses his repentance,

”I have sinned against heaven and earth. Make me as one of your hired servants.” The Father is waiting for him. Before he can give his words of repentance he has a ring on his finger, a cloak on his back and sandals on his feet. He is back home and all is forgiven.

There is the villain: The older Brother. He will not come into the celebration. The father has to come out. The poor boy in tears responds, “You never gave me a goat to make merry with my friends but this son has come home, you kill my fatted calf!”

Then there is the Negotiator: The loving Father. He tells the boy, “Son, I am always with you, but this son, your brother, has come home. He was lost and is found. He was dead and is alive. ”

What is the missed point?  Let us go back to the original question they have. Why are you talking with these people? What good is it doing? They are not going to change. You are wasting your time. Jesus response to their questions is that the reason I am with these people is because I love to be with them.

Jesus is telling the Pharisees, God is Love. The Father loved his son just as deeply when he was at home as when he had become sin and separated from him. St. Paul tells us that Jesus became sin (separated) who knew no sin ( immoral act). When Jesus became sin, God loved Jesus as much before He became sin as much as when He became sin. God loves each one of us just as much as He loves His Son.

Here is the point: you can love a person just as much when you are apart as when they are with you. However, there is a certain kind of joy you have when the two of you are together. This is the joy the father felt when the son returned. It is the Joy the Father and Son felt at the Ascension. It is the Joy the Father and the Son feel when you and I abide in His Spirit. We both have a Joy no one can take from us when we abide together.

It is not about the Love. That is unconditional and inclusive.  It is about the Joy. Why did Jesus come to be with us? It was because of the Love but let us not forget the Joy that comes because of the Faith experience. Have you felt the Joy today? Take a look. He is here with us now.

2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new.

Spirituality can change our old life into a new creation when we consciously choose to feel His Presence.


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