THE FATHER SHOWED GREAT COMPASSION WHEN HE SAW HIS SON AND RAN TO MEET HIM
RETURNING HOME TO THE FATHER
The father of the prodigal son wasn’t the least bit interested in hearing where his younger son had strayed or how he had wasted his life and inheritance; he was just happy to see his son return home from wandering in the wilderness.
He set no condition for his boy to enter the house, nor for the elder sibling. It was the father’s desire that both sons should enter his house, their home.
When war rages, parents want their sons and daughters to return home from battle in one piece. That is their prayer. As the war continues and they see that some kids don’t make it back, the prayer changes and becomes less conditional: “Just bring them home… crippled or not, wounded or not, maimed or not, alcoholic or not, priest or not; we just want our kids to come back, and we will accept and still love them, whatever condition they are in.”
Unlike Thomas who insisted that Jesus show his wounds, the father in the parable of the two sons had no need to make demands in this way.
The younger son suffered “because of his own poor choices and habits”. The elder sibling suffered because he was unable to love his brother in the way that the father loved both sons. Yet neither son was rejected by their father.
THE POWER OF THE LORD’S PRAYER
A very wise Irish priest who accompanied a pilgrimage group to Medjugorje stood up at dinner one evening and asked for everyone’s attention.
He had sensed there was conflict within the group; people were complaining, sniping, gossiping, getting angry and out of sorts with themselves and each other. (Yes, this kind of behaviour can happen on pilgrimages).
The priest was very brief in his address to the group. He simply invited everyone to pray the Lord’s Prayer and to take every word to heart.
Since then, I have never forgotten the power of this prayer to bring the peace of Jesus into any situtation that I find disturbing.
Disappointment and a sense of injustice can can lead to anger and resentment, but we are called to forgive each other’s failures and mistakes. Even when others seemingly fail to carry out the will of the Father, we can also fail when we ‘dig in’ and choose not to forgive.
One of the greatest gifts we all possess is the ability to forgive. We can choose to use it sparingly, we can multiply it over and over again, or we can bury it. We are blessed with the freedom to choose and the devil isn’t slow to push the choices he would want us to make.