The season of Lent in the northern hemisphere comes at an impressive time of the year. Winter is still holding on but is beginning to lose her grip. By this fourth week she tantalizes us with bright sunshine only to bite us with bitter cold soul splitting wind.
Well, awake from your winter slumber because the scriptures for this fourth Sunday will thaw any heart. The commentary this week in National Catholic Reporter is by Dominican Sister, Carol Dempsey, picking up on a story, she writes, has gone viral. Our Gospel for the fourth Sunday is, of course, Jesus’ tale of the Prodigal Son. The version Sister Carol offers us is out of Zambia, from the Bemba people. Now I have just sent off the article to my Sisters of St. Clare in Zambia who have in Community Sisters who are Bemba by tribe.
The Bemba story goes like this. If someone from the tribe acts dishonorably, instead of ostracizing the person, or worse, the people circle the prodigal. One by one they name all the good things this person has done in his or her life. They then break the circle and all join in for a great celebration. You can read the full account on the Web: NCR.org/blogs/scripture-for-life.