Everything He Has Is Yours - Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermon
Bishop Robert Barron
March 27, 2022
Fourth Sunday of Lent Year C
Gospel: Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Friends, our Gospel reading for this Fourth Sunday of Lent is one of the greatest stories ever told: the parable of the prodigal son. In a way, this parable about giving and receiving gifts tells us everything we need to know about our relationship to God.
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our Gospel today is Jesus’ best-known parable, and perhaps the greatest story ever told. It tells us practically everything we need to know about our relationship to God, if we but attend to the details carefully.
The younger son asks for his share of the estate and quickly squanders it in a faraway land—and so it always goes. We are the children of God; we have been given life, being, everything by him; we exist through him at every moment. What is represented here so vividly is the moment of sin, which means rupture or division.
So he was forced to hire himself out so as to become a feeder of pigs. And no one gave him anything. Coming to his senses at last, he decides to break away and return to his father.
The father sees him from a long way off, and then, throwing respectability to the wind, he comes running out to meet him. The Bible is not the story of our quest for God, but of God’s passionate, relentless quest for us. He put a ring on his son’s finger—the ring of marriage, symbolizing the reestablishment of a right relationship between us and God.