“THE PRODIGAL SON”
We are familiar with the Gospel story of the two sons of the father. One asked for his inheritance now and went off to live a life of excess, corruption and sin. The older son stayed home and assisted the father with the daily chores of the farm. Needless to say, the younger son went through the inheritance and found himself destitute. He was without anything to live. So he decided to go home and beg his father to live as the workers do and not reclaim his place as a son. When the father saw the younger son returning, he was overjoyed and set about a great welcoming feast. The older son was not happy at this and went off, not joining in the ‘welcoming home’ celebration. (I do this story a disservice explaining it in such a shorten version. It is a magnificent story that bears reading in its entirety.)
This story has so many parallels to our own living today. How often are we envious, jealous, or just unhappy at what seems to be the success of another, whom we know, has not always done the right thing consistently. And we have followed the rules and worked hard to always try to do what is right. How often does the positive attention another gets bother us? These inner conflicts may come within our family or they may occur at work or they may occur in some organization that we belong to. Or we may just be an observer, and still we react internally. Is our focus always on the younger son to the exclusion of thinking about the older son? Can we imagine the older son graciously greeting and welcoming home his brother? Did he miss him? Did he too wish to run away, but did not have the ‘courage’ to speak with his father. Why did he stay? Did he love the life and work that he was doing? But confronted with his brother’s return, did only negative feelings come forth? Might he have been curious about his brother’s adventures? Could he have not recognized that the choice he made was the right choice for him? Could he or we have been satisfied with less? Can we be happy for another?
Life, if nothing else, is filled with relationships. Are we satisfied with our own lives enough to objectively view others and not immediately react judgmentally? Can we live with the excess in others and enjoy their success with them? Can we appreciate the differences in people and accept their life decisions without making comments or have personal thoughts that are critical? Can we always know of God’s gifts to us and be thankful without continuing comparisons to others?
Lent is the perfect time for reflection. It is the perfect time for lovingly accepting who we are and what we have. The whole world at this moment seems to be in a state of dissatisfaction. Can we focus on the suffering, pain, and death of Jesus who did this for the love for us? Are you jealous of His sacrifice and would wish to change places? What about the Father? Welcoming Loving and Forgiving.