Little by little we are getting closer to Holy Week, and today’s Gospel brings us this beautiful story of the Prodigal Son, or the Forgiving Father, or even some people have called it the parable of the two brothers. This story has so many details that our minds can imagine every scene of the story. We can see the younger, selfish son, demanding his piece of the inheritance, so he can go out and spend it foolishly. We can imagine wasting his money with the so-called friends, or the smell of the pigs.
At the same time, we can picture the father, looking out across the fields waiting for his son to come back home, then the joy he had when he saw him coming back. We also can see the older brother getting upset at how his father welcomes his brother. This is the right time for us to picture ourselves in one of the characters of this parable. We can easily see ourselves as the younger brother, coming home, and being embraced by God, but how many times have we had the attitude of the older brother, getting furious to see how God shows His mercy towards sinners.
Sometimes we have refused to join in the Banquet of the Father’s love. As we have experienced and accepted God’s mercy in our lives, we should also rejoice when a brother or sister has had a conversion and has come back to God. Let us rejoice and be glad because they have returned to God.
This Sunday is also called Laetare Sunday, the Sunday that we should express joy that the celebration of our redemption is only three weeks away. This is the Sunday when we understand more profoundly how deep our Father’s love is for us. God does not care about what we have done, about how we have hurt him. God cares that we were lost, but now are found. He just wants to put his arms around us and say, “let’s go home.” This story is only a hint of how deep God’s mercy is, and the profoundness of his compassion. May we have the humility to seek forgiveness. And may we forgive others as we have been forgiven.
Peace and all good,
Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM
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