Today we hear the well known parable of the Prodigal Son that we know is really about the love of a father for his son. We obviously translate this parable as the love God has for us, a radical uncompromising love for his sons, his daughters, for his family, for his whole family including his servants. The father is ever watchful, ever present, willing to listen and even give an inheritance too soon. The father enriches his youngest son with material goods in the hopes he will understand that relationships and trust in another are even more important than money in the pocket. On the other hand the jealousy of the older son, his elder brother leaves him lost and disconnected from the family even though he has been dutiful his whole life, but he misses the opportunities right in front of him. He knows how to be a dutiful son, but misunderstands the spirit of being a son in relationship to his father, to his brother and to the rest of the household.
As we read “Rediscover Jesus” by Matthew Kelly in this season of Lent, can we step back like the father or even the youngest son and see our lives in perspective to God’s gracious love for us? When all is well in life, we may not see as the father in the parable saw his son, or God sees us, or Jesus sees us. When our parents are healthy and well we may not see them as we could. For those who are parents when children are testing life, testing you, we may not easily love them because they test family relationships, test the boundaries, test what they can and can’t do. It is a balancing act; walking through this journey we call life.
When parents lose their memory, their short term memory, life changes and is surprising all at the same time. My dad does not remember all that was, just snippets here and there, at the same time he is still affable, friendly, willing to say hello to people walking with their children in a park; greeting the children with warmth and care. He has a smile on his face and can play a great game of cribbage. As the day wears on, tiredness can rob him of his civility and change his personality, in that he becomes agitated and fearful. And then I must step back and remember that our dad first loved us into life, he is loved by God and all we can do is try to love him.
Lenten Blessings – Fr. Larry