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4th Sunday of Lent Year C

Sunday March 30, 2025

Mass Readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

  • First ReadingJoshua 5:9A, 10-12: "On that same day after the Passover, on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan."
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 34: "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord."
  • Second Reading2 Corinthians 5:17-21: "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
  • Gospel - Luke 15:1-3, 11-32: "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him."

If your parish is doing the RCIA scrutinies, use the readings for Year A instead.

Themes for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

The readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C remind us that God is always waiting for us to return to Him so we can receive the abundance of life he offers us. The first reading tells of how the Israelites celebrated Passover on the plains of Jericho. In the second reading Paul tells us to be reconciled to God. And in the gospel,Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son, which is sometimes called the parable of the forgiving father.

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C.

Resources for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

Lesson Plan on the Prodigal Son

This Tale of Two Sons lesson plan on the parable of the prodigal son will help youth understand that followers of Jesus cannot just view freedom and duty from the world's point of view. The generous father shows us how to live these in the context of love.

Pig Food Race

This Pig Food Race makes participants look like pigs rooting for food, so it is perfect as a Prodigal Son game for a lesson on the parable.

Washed Away Prayer Service
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Washed Away Prayer Service

This washed away prayer service makes a nice accompaniment to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and return to the Lord. It incorporates Psalm 51.

Thanks Be to God My Deliverer

This prayer is based on Psalm 34 which is the responsorial psalm for this Sunday. God delivers those who are weak and broken and powerless.

Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Consider going to reconciliation as a family or with youth group or youth ministry. And then do something afterwards to celebrate this beautiful gift of grace from our Lord. Go out for pizza together or something similar.

Lenten Ideas for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

Learn a New Prayer

It is good to keep your prayer life fresh by trying a new type of prayer from time to time. While I like just sitting and listening or doing something a little less structured like Lectio Divina, sometimes there are times when a traditional prayer brings me comfort and inspiration.

Start a Prayer Journal

Lent is a time when we explore ways to deepen our prayer lives. A prayer journal is a good way to stay focused during prayer. I find this an especially helpful practice for teens who are trying to develop a deeper prayer life. But it is appropriate for all ages.

See More Lenten Ideas

See specific ideas for practicing prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during the Lenten season.

Homilies and Reflections for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

The Prodigal Son

From Bishop Robert Barron. In this week’s Gospel reading we hear the story of the Prodigal Son. Here, Christ provides a reflection on the nature of love and our relationship with God. God gives us gifts; we must receive them and give them back. Only when we accept grace freely and give it away will we live in a proper relationship with God.

Found Alive Again

From Scott Hahn. Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does. Scott Hahn explains further.


Also from Bishop Barron. There is a distinction between heteronomy (law from another), autonomy (law from oneself), and what he called “theonomy” (law of God). Bishop Robert Barron explains how all three approaches can be seen in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Everything He Has Is Yours

Bishop Robert Barron explains that the Gospel reading for this the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C is one of the greatest stories ever told: the parable of the prodigal son. In a way, this parable about giving and receiving gifts tells us everything we need to know about our relationship to God.

Jeff Cavins explains that the story of the prodigal son (or the generous father) is a story of two sons. One turns from what is destroying him. The other becomes jealous when his brother is blessed. It is also interesting to note that the younger son celebrates with his Father. The older son wants to celebrate with his friends.

Pope Francis explained the parable of the prodigal son, the gospel for the the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C, at the general audience. "The logic of God's mercy knows no rewards or punishments," he said, "but welcomes everyone.”

What is forgiveness exactly? Maybe if we really knew what it meant, we’d be more willing to show it. Fr. Mike Schmitz teaches us that forgiveness is rooted in justice. It doesn’t forget or ignore the injustice done, but it frees us from the need to get revenge.

More Thoughts for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

The parable of the prodigal son, which is the gospel for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C, only appears in the Gospel of Luke. It is a story with twists, turns, and reversals. And it focuses on freedom and duty.

The younger son seeks freedom. He wants to live as he wishes. He seems to have no respect for his father and even implies that he would prefer his father were dead so he could have his wealth. Even when he returns, he is seeking physical comfort rather than a relationship with his father..

The older son is dutiful. He serves his Father and does not complain. But he seems to be harboring some resentment. He may take pride in being "the good son" and wishes that he would be rewarded for his efforts. He is driven by his ego and wanting to be held in high esteem. He becomes furious when his reckless brother returns and is restored to the same level as himself in the family.

Neither son seems to be motivated by love though. That is where the father comes in. He loves both of his sons dearly. And he uses his love to demonstrate the proper place of freedom and duty.

He is free with his generosity. His lack of attachment to material goods means he can freely love his younger son and welcome him back wholeheartedly. And he shows his duty to his older son by being quick to offer all he has to him. He could have easily been offended by the older brother's attitude. But he recognizes his responsibility to help his older son understand how much he is loved.

Reflection Questions for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

  • Which son do I identify with? Why?
  • How can I blend freedom and love in my life?
  • Are my actions motivated by duty or love?

Social Media Graphic for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year C

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

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