When we hear the familiar “Parable of the Prodigal Son”, I believe this should be titled the “Parable of the Loving Father”. I say this because it is the father who has the traits we all seek: he is generous, patient, loving and forgiving. The father is the person in this story who has it all in order and is merciful. Isn’t that what we desire?
Perhaps we have played the role of each of the three characters in this story at one point in our lives. Perhaps we too have been restless and have had an entitlement mindset, believing we deserve what we have not worked for. Have we spent our resources foolishly? How have we used our time, talent and financial resources? And yet this younger son still had the capacity to realize his father may offer forgiveness, at least accepting him back as a slave. He had hope. Hope is an essential characteristic of any Christian, so even in this son, a serious sinner, we find a good trait to emulate.
The older son, while being loyal and doing what was asked of him, did not have a grasp on what he had. His father had provided everything this man needed but he didn’t see his blessings. Rather he was full of resentment, of his younger brother and of his father’s loving generosity and forgiving nature. This man had not learned how to love.
I urge you to examine your conscience and your life today while thinking of the characters in this beautiful story. How have you been one of these characters? Ask the Lord to assist you in your faith journey so you can grow to become more like the loving father as we all continue our journey. Jesus is describing His Father when He tells us this story. Come seek Him in the sacrament of confession this week and experience His Loving Forgiveness!