Luke 15:1-3,11b-32 - Sunday Scripture Reflection
Updated: Mar 27, 2022
On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we reflect on the well known story of the benevolent father and his two sons. This story is found only in the Gospel according to Luke, but is a story many people have heard. Our challenge is to listen to the reading with "new ears" and new perspectives to hear what Jesus is teaching us today. The story addresses many topics (social norms, justice, forgiveness, and unconditional love...to name a few!); and the story can be studied from many perspectives (father, younger son, or older son), each giving their unique lessons. We will explore the themes of love, mercy and forgiveness; and how these have meaning in our lives.
Our Scripture passage is found in the Gospel according to Luke. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32).
For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):
Read the assigned Scripture lesson in the Gospel according to Luke. Did you hear any words or phrases that resonated with you in a particular way? Have you had any experiences of having to ask forgiveness or to give forgiveness that came to mind during the reading of the lesson?
Read the “WHAT…” paragraph in the guide below, and reflect on the following questions: what does this parable say about how God acts? What do you think about the author’s statement that “reconciliation was possible because of what the father did?”
Read the “WHERE…” paragraph below, and reflect on the following questions: what is offensive about the father’s extravagance? What do you think about the author’s statement, “The economy of such love and grace surprises, even offends, us in its extravagance.” How do we often feel about the joy that God expresses through abundance vs. our feelings of justice and “fair play”…essentially, the father’s reaction vs. the elder son’s reaction at the reconciliation of the younger son?
Read the “SO WHAT…” paragraph below and reflect on the following question: How does the church look out for all God’s children, near and far, without expecting that they give back? What are the risks of radical forgiveness and mercy?
Read the “NOW WHAT…” paragraph below, and reflect on the following: Focus on the first sentence in the paragraph: what tension exists between our desire to fulfill God’s dream, as described in the first sentence of the “NOW WHAT…” paragraph, vs. our understanding of judgment and justice? How do these two characteristics of God (forgiveness and judgment) work together and how do they push against each other, if you believe they do push against each other?