February 13, 2015
My Dear People of God,
This coming Wednesday, we begin the observance of our Lenten penitential practices. As we receive ashes, reminding us of our need for repentance, we hear the admonition: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
One of the ways that we best understand this message is offered to us by the Lord Himself in the long-familiar Parable of the Prodigal Son.
To repent means to turn back. In reflecting on the parable, we meet once again that moment in the life of a wayward young man who trades his place in relationship to his father to seek his happiness away from home. He uses the money coming from his father’s estate. Once his inheritance is spent and his “fair weather friends” are gone, he realizes how empty his life truly is.
He has a momentous decision to make: Does he return to his father’s home, recognizing the harm he caused to that relationship, or, does he avoid the risk of his father’s rejection and live in isolation away from his love?
The profligate son chose wisely. He returns to be greeted by his father’s love even before he can reach the family home.
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The “Prodigal Son” teaches us graphically and clearly the meaning of the word “repent.” The father’s embrace is a tangible expression of “Gospel joy.”
Let us pray for each other this Lenten season. With God’s grace, we can all grow closer to Him and to each other in seeking to overcome the effects of sin in our lives.
Wishing you every blessing, I am
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend David R. Choby
Bishop of Nashville