Saturday’s Gospel from Luke 15 is a famous story of Jesus which reminds us of the incredible patience and mercy of God. Sunday’s Gospel of the woman at the well is another popular Gospel story. Each of these tell us that as much as we long for God, He is all the more seeking us.
We have a great capacity as humans to place ourselves first, even in this great and central relationship with God. What these stories from this third weekend of Lent remind us of is the truth that every person is internally, hard-wired for relationship with God. Some may doubt that, others even deny it, but it does not change the central truth of history that we are created for relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ.
The prodigal son represents all of humanity. We begin in relationship with the Father. We each have our own, personal history in this relationship. We each struggle, sometimes sinfully so, in this relationship, trying to find our own identity, even apart from God at times, only to find that life apart from God is unbearable.
As much as this classic Gospel story demonstrates the return of the son to the Father, it teaches even more of the Father’s constant, vigilant search for us. The initiative always belongs to God! He is constantly breaking into our world through beauty, truth, goodness, kindness, relationship, mystery and reality…if we have the eyes to see.
The woman at the well is a further manifestation of the approach of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus demonstrates in this story of the deep longing of God for us in the person of Jesus. No one knows us better than God. No one speaks to the human heart as deeply and profoundly as the person of Jesus, as is demonstrated once again in this encounter with Jesus by the woman at the well.
Even though He is mindful of our sins, His desire for us is to lead us to conversion, to faith, to light, truth and love. This is why He associates with sinners…after all, sinners are all He has to work with…it is why He came into the world, to transform, redeem, and save God’s people.
May this Lenten season open us to God’s approach. May it clear our hearts and minds and sight to recognize that we are created for Christ, Who longs to re-unite us with the Father.