Fourth Sunday of Lent
Fourth Sunday of Lent Homily Transcript
There was a bus ride from upper New York way down to Florida, and it was just before spring break, so the bus ride was full of college students. But there was one gentleman in the back of the bus who was a little bit disheveled, a little bit, his clothes weren’t matching, he was looking pretty sad for himself. And the college students lovingly referred to him as “the loser”.
They would talk about “the loser” and they finally sent somebody to go be nice to “the loser”, and somebody brought him a Coke. And he accepted the Coke, and the college students, one college student, and the man started talking back and forth. And the gentleman shared with the college student his story. And this was his story.
He had been in prison in upper state New York. He’d been in prison. And he had, he was married, and when he started his prison sentence four years ago, he told his wife, “I’m not gonna communicate with you, “because I want you to be free to do whatever you wanna do.” But sure enough, a couple of weeks before he was to be let out, to be released, he sent a note to his wife and said, “Okay, my love, “I care for you deeply, “but I know that it’s been four years. “If you’ll have me back, “just do one thing. “On the outside of town, “that big oak tree before you get into town, “just put a yellow ribbon there, “and I’ll know you’ll have me back.”
Well, all the college students were aghast that this was about to transpire. That he was about to find out in just a few more miles what was gonna be his fate, being welcomed back home by his wife and forgiven, or not. And so it put a hush over the whole bus as they anxiously were waiting to find out what was going to be the answer. There was a silence amongst all these anxious college students. And they went through the twists and turns, and finally came to the last turn before the town. And all the college students looked out the window with anxious anticipation. And they didn’t see a bow on the tree. They saw 200 bows on the tree. From the very top to the very bottom was filled with yellow bows put there by the wife, saying, “Welcome home. “I forgive you.”
In this Lenten season we have this powerful gospel of the man who was blind and was able to see. We know that Jesus’ love is without bounds, Jesus’ mercy is without bounds, Jesus’s compassion is without bounds. We know that we ourselves not only look for mercy, but we also have to forgive others. Did you ever notice in the Our Father that there’s only one phrase that’s conditional? “Forgive us our trespasses “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Did you notice that? That we’re called to forgive. And if we can forgive, how much more merciful is our loving God through Jesus our Savior?
In this Lenten season we’re called to reconcile ourselves, really make time to reconcile ourselves. ‘Coz we all know that there’s things for which we need to be forgiven. We all know that. I know that first and foremost. How do we use this Lenten season as the time for that reconciliation? We know Jesus’ mercy is without bounds. Let us avail ourselves to that mercy. Let us pass our forgiveness to those that we have to forgive as well. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.