Taste and See: Grow and change…

Pavement artThe First reading at Mass today, the 4th Sunday of Lent, reminds of God’s love and care for his people.

The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have taken the shame of Egypt away from you.’

The Israelites pitched their camp at Gilgal and kept the Passover there on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening in the plain of Jericho. On the morrow of the Passover they tasted the produce of that country, unleavened bread and roasted ears of corn, that same day.

From that time, from their first eating of the produce of that country, the manna stopped falling. And having manna no longer, the Israelites fed from that year onwards on what the land of Canaan yielded.


In the Gospel parable today the father feeds his dissolute and broken younger son, and the elder brother refuses to share the feast provided by the father.

Here Israel has learnt to eat from the Lord’s goodness – first the manna, then the food of the country. The manna is received as miracle, the other food as ‘natural’ –  “fruit of the earth and work of human hands”: the challenge is to know both as truly, equally,  gift of God, and opportunity to affirm communion with God.

The difference at first seems great, but the distinction turns out not to be so very important. In every situation we are who we are, and God is as God  is, and we are invited to receive, and find in God what we need to grow.

In today’s parable the younger son seems to find the way to growth and change, and the elder son resists the opportunity. He knows best…

The Holy Spirit, especially, is the agent of change and growth in the Church – the Spirit who guides us in growth to God not away from him.

  • As we prepare for the last weeks of Lent, invoke the Holy Spirit for your renewal and newness, as you receive the nourishment of word and sacrament for all that yet lies ahead.

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of the faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created
And you shall renew the face of the earth.

O God,
to whom every heart is open
and from whom no secrets are hidden;
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the help of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you, faithfully serve you,
and worthily praise your Holy name.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Pavement art. Assisi. (C) Allen Morris, 2014.