Daily Reading for March 14 • The Fourth Sunday in Lent
“Father,” it says, “I have sinned against heaven, and before you.” This is the first confession before the Creator of nature, the Patron of mercy, and the Judge of guilt. Although God knows all things, he awaits the words of your confession. . . . Confess, so that the church may pray for you and that the people may weep for you. Do not fear that perhaps you might not receive. The advocate promises pardon. The patron offers grace. The defender promises the reconciliation with the Father’s good will to you. Believe because it is the truth. . . .
Rise and run to the church. Here is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He who hears you pondering in the secret places of the mind runs to you. When you are still far away, he sees you and runs to you. He sees in your heart. He runs, perhaps someone may hinder, and he embraces you. His foreknowledge is in the running, his mercy in the embrace and the disposition of fatherly love. He falls on your neck to raise one prostrate and burdened with sins and bring back one turned aside to the earthly toward heaven. Christ falls on your neck to free your neck from the yoke of slavery and hang his sweet yoke upon your shoulders.
From Exposition of the Gospel of Luke by Ambrose, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament III, Luke, edited by Arthur A. Just, Jr. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003).