Finally,Coming to His Senses
The Prodigal Son or Forgiving Father gospel is a classic story of redemption. Though centuries old this story has elements that entertain and educate us about God’s generosity and acts of forgiveness. Before we even try to understand this scripture, we should refrain from thinking that we have God all figured out. Sure, we know what God likes and doesn’t like, and how He either rewards or punishes according to His will. Sometimes we even think that we know how to get from God whatever we desire. Such thinking is foolish and a waste of time. In last week’s gospel we hear God telling Moses who He is: “I am God”...and will do what I want and what is necessary for the good of all human beings. God can never be constrained by what we think He can or can’t do or will or will not do!
In the course of human history, and our salvation history, God’s goodness has fallen upon both the worthy and unworthy. Unlike ourselves He sees everyone equally and no one having an advantage over anyone else. That is so foreign to our way of thinking.
Like the father in today’s gospel, God loves everyone and especially those who are disenfranchised and most in need. The gospel-father loved both sons equally even though we would say that the younger son is less deserving. To fully understand this parable, we have to fully understand ourselves. I often say that we have to “think like God” and this certainly applies to our gospel-lesson. We have to set aside our judging and look for the good in everyone. We have to look at ourselves and see how we want to be treated in the various situations of our lives, .especially when we don’t deserve the goodness of others and God. We have to trust that God will lead us where we are to go to become better and blessed people. We have to make it out Lenten resolve not to imitate the older brother and be resentful and lacking in joy. If someone else receives a blessing, an advantage, a break in their life, we should rejoice and not resent their good fortune.
It was the younger son who “finally came to his senses, whereas it was the older son who really needed to do this. That’s the irony of this parable that entertains me...the one when needs to see differently, or like God sees, is clueless. Let’s try to make sure that when necessary we will have our senses about ourselves and rejoice in the blessings God gives to others and to ourselves. Lent is seeing clearly...as God sees.