The story of the Prodigal Son is one of the most well-known in the New Testament. It has been rightly called the Queen of all Parables. This Parable is only to be found in the Gospel of Luke and it is most appropriate for us to take a look at it in the middle of Lent. Lent is a time when we seek forgiveness and this wonderful story aptly teaches us about forgiveness and reconciliation.
This is one of those scriptural readings that it is easy to slide over. I don't know about you but if I sit down to read one of the Gospels I find myself dwelling on the interesting passages and hardly bothering about some others; the eye seems to glide over the text and on to something more interesting.
The first reading today is very strange to the modern reader unless we make ourselves familiar with the customs and usages of the ancient world. The extraordinary ceremony related here was no sacrifice but rather a ritual symbolic of a covenant or a solemn promise between two people. What they did was take one or more animals and cut them in half and then laid them out opposite to each other but separate, making a sort of avenue between the two halves just as is recorded here in the Book of Genesis.
The Gospel we are given for our consideration on the First Sunday of Lent is always an account of the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert. This year we are presented with St Luke’s version of this important incident in the life of Christ. Mark’s version of the story is, as we would expect, very brief while the accounts given by Matthew and Luke are more extended and broadly similar but with slight differences in the order of the three temptations.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket