March 6, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Lent
He said to him, “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.” Lk 15:31
I read somewhere that the parable of the Prodigal Son should be called the parable of the Merciful Father. It is, after all, the story of God’s loving mercy. A mercy that never quits.
Ask people what they need to do to get to heaven and they will tell us to be good. But Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son tells us something different.
Jesus tells us that all we must do is turn toward home. Take that first step of repentance toward the Father who has been waiting for us, and He who never gives up on us, will welcome us home.
And throw us a party.
The elder son does not really understand this forgiveness. He knows nothing of mercy and he acts jealous and self-righteous. He feels like he has lost out somehow because the “bad” son has been given a party.
And then the Father says this most beautiful thing – “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.”
Everything God has is ours.
If our motivation to serve and to be faithful is for love of God – if our goal is an intimate relationship with Him – then there is nothing to resent. We are with Him always.
The reward is not the farm or an inheritance. The reward is communion with the Father.
We don’t always get it. Many of us are like the elder son. We often think that we need to earn our way into heaven. We really have no clue that God is madly in love with us and wants us home, with him. Forever.
All we need to do then, whenever we sin, is to make that step toward home. Make that step toward reconciliation. And let God do the rest.
For He is watching for us with the loving heart of a merciful Father; watching for us to come home.
Dear Lord, thank you for endless love and mercy. Thank you for always bringing us back home again. Help us to show mercy to others, too, Lord. Help us to forgive and to lead others home to you. Amen.
image by James Tissot, (Public Domain)