4th Sunday of Lent Year C - 10/3/2013 - Gospel: LK 15:1-3, 11-32
The way
Some young people dream about living away from home, especially when they feel they are strangers in their own parent's house. They long to move out, as soon as possible, to live a life free from family structures and obligations. When an opportunity arrives they quickly grasp it to start a new life. Equipped with some intelligent and knowledge they believe they are ready to live a life independent from their parents and home with much more freedom and joy. Some people make it but not all. Most of them find that the enjoyment is short lived and they soon face the crunch of life's challenges and they are not prepared for it, namely life responsibility, maturity and skills for a job are real hurdles for a person who has an independent life style.

This is the experience the younger son in the parable of The Prodigal Sons who had left home and longed to returned. The younger son was not happy at home. He believed the outside world had much better things for him to enjoy. He asked his father for his share of the estate that he was entitled to and then left home. The younger son took a big risk in life with his future because he didn't know what was ahead of him and what was hidden from him. He thought he was ready for a life of independence from home and thought he was well prepared for it, but he was far from it. At home everything was provided free of charge; he now had to pay for everything and his coffer shrank and shrank until he had nothing left. At home with his father he has a title- beloved son of the master and heir of the estate. Choosing to leave home he has lost everything, the status, the heir and denied the love of his father. He became no body.

When he ran out of the money he realized that he had been living in the fantasy world which was different to the real world. The world of fantasy was full of hope and joy while the real world has famine and disaster and hostility.

Famine, hunger and hostility opened the eyes of the younger son to uphold his father's kindness and goodness. He recognized the love and compassion his father had for the family which was extended even to the workers, who fortunately came under his care. This recognition gave the younger son the courage, strength and faith in his father that led him confidently return home. He believed that his father's mercy and compassion would not punish or reject him, but instead he expected the father would employ him and treated him as he did to other workers. Again the younger son, in his judgement, was wrong about his father. Instead of punishment and disciplines with conditions applied, the father pardoned him and joyfully welcomed the son unconditionally with a feast to celebrate and restored his sonship status.

The fantasy world for us, Christians, is the world that denies the existence of God in our lives and in the world. It is the world where we deny God's love and mercy. It is the world where we rely on our own strength, wisdom and knowledge. It is the world where we follow our own free will- do whatever we like, regardless of God's commandment: love God and love our neighbours. Above all it is the world where we believe we are gods ourselves.

God our loving Father is waiting to welcome us to return to regain the status- Heir of the kingdom of God.