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Fourth Sunday of Lent – Cycle C

Reflecting on Lk. 15:1-3, 11-32

Grr. You have to feel for that elder son. He’d been working the family farm— ranch?—pretty much by himself because his worthless brat of a little brother staged a big scene and got the old man to give him his inheritance and then ran off to squander it.

Now, truth be told, it wasn’t that much of an inheritance, since, according to Moses, the first-born son got twice as much as the younger brother: But he shall acknowledge the first-born…by giving a double portion of all he has; for he is the first-fruits of his strength, the right of the first-born is his (Dt. 21:17).

So, yeah, there’s that. But he had to work twice as hard for that twice-as-large inheritance! The little brother was supposed to stay and work, and the older brother was supposed to reap the benefits of that set-up. That’s how God wants it.

Here’s a thought: maybe that runaway son was taking a stand against a system that worked two sons the same, but one benefitted twice as much.

Greg Boyle, SJ admits that he won the race, zip code, parents, and siblings lottery when he was born. Me too. I wonder if I make assumptions about the life I get to live, in contrast to the way the family sleeping in their van in the empty parking lot is living theirs right now.

The younger son looked at “the way God wants it” and said, “I don’t think so.” I hope the van-family doesn’t think God set things up so I get to be warm and they have to be cold. Come to think of it, I hope I don’t think that too.

Are there inequities in the economic system that are making you feel like running away?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Lent - Cycle C

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