The Gospel proclamation talks about the well-known parable of the prodigal son. One could say that it is the greatest short story ever written. Because it teaches many lessons to us. The youngest son went away from his father, he squandered his wealth in loose living, he faced a famine and then had to work in a pigs farm, the most unthinkable job for a Jew. He ended up with nothing to eat. Isn’t this what we go through when we drift away from God?
St. Teresa of Avila describes in her book ‘The Interior Castle’, the state of the soul of a person who is in mortal sin as, “no night can be so dark, no gloom nor blackness can compare to its obscurity.” The state of our inner being can sometimes be reflected externally as physical sickness and also as emotional problems. Yet the love of the Lord allows a sinner to turn back, like the son who finally came to his senses and decided to go back to his father.
The younger son in this story had deeply insulted and hurt the father by asking the inheritance while the father was still alive. The father in the parable reveals to us the heart of God, who is waiting for the lost son or daughter to come back and be restored. How many times have we given up on Christ and gone against him for petty things in life? But God loves us and is waiting for us to turn from our sinful ways. Today we receive a new opportunity to answer the call of our Heavenly Father.
Many of us have followed the 4 steps retreat and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We have seen how God restored us, but have we now become like the elder son, unable to understand or even bitter when we see a sinner being restored. Unable to accept the holiness of the other, whom we may have known in the past.
In the first reading we see how the people whom God saved from slavery, when they lost their connection with God, quickly bowed down to other gods. Today we need to be aware of this danger, though we were once anointed by the Holy Spirit, we can easily lose sight of God, unless we per- severe in prayer and frequent the sacraments, repenting for our sins, so as not to lose our connection with God. Our circumstances in life may change, we may go through crises yet we need to give God the first place.
St. Paul in the first letter to Timothy reminds us that the Lord Jesus came into this world to save sinners. Since we are all sinners, this is indeed good news. Let us be hopeful because Jesus makes all things new.
Prayer: Abba Father, give me the grace to hold on to you always. Amen.