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The Fourth Sunday of Lent

Luke 15.1-3, 11b-32

Gaze on the father pacing his lemon groves each evening, climbing to the highest point of his land to scan the horizon. And at last he sees a dot, growing ever more distinct, ever more familiar.

Gaze on the elder son, the outsider looking in at the party, sulking and aggrieved. Nothing tastes sweet to him any more, not even his mother’s honey cakes which she tempts him with. (Where is the mother in this story?) His mouth is dry and has a permanent taste of winter olives. He is not the first brother in the Bible to have fallen out with his sibling. First Cain killed Abel; next Jacob stole his heritage from Esau. Then Jacob’s sons attempted murder, all because of a coat. This elder son didn’t have to stain his hands with fraud or slaughter, for the younger son had left of his own accord. Good riddance...

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