Daily Thought For March 23, 2019
Great Insights On The Prodigal Son
Luke 15:1–3, 11–32
“While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.”
Luke’s parable of the prodigal son moves me every time I hear it. It is too close to home. Who among us has not known the comparison and competition that makes us look at one another as rivals rather than brothers and sisters? We fear there will not be enough (of whatever), and we’d better protect our share. Who will look out for Number I, if I do not? Our loved ones look on in sorrow, but we take our share and off we go. The younger son wants his inheritance, and he wants it now.
Without question, the father grants his son’s request, gives him his portion of the estate, and lets him go. He knows his son, knows he does not yet have the maturity, the experience, or the wisdom to make all the “right” choices. How vulnerable he will be in this cold and dangerous world! The son has to make his own mistakes, perhaps many of them. And they will hurt. With sorrow the father lets him go, but I believe also with generous love and with trust. Trust that the goodness hidden in the depths of his son’s heart will win out, trust that God is at work in his son.
And the father’s love is not disappointed! His trust in his son is at last proven true—the son comes to his senses and returns home. “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” It seems the father was on the lookout for his son, certain that he would return, convinced that the love he had poured out on his son would yet bring him home. In fact, we have a Father who is never about keeping everything to himself—but one who deeply desires to share with us everything he has.
Father, are you also at work in me and in the people I love? Have you placed such goodness in me that you are convinced that I can and will return home to your mercy? Even when I am a long way off? Are you always on the lookout for me, always ready to welcome me back, to restore to me the wealth of grace and dignity that I sometimes squander? Help me trust in your love within me and within everyone else on this journey of life. And let me trust that you have love enough for all of us.
My heavenly Father knows what I need (cf. Mt 6:32).
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 48–49). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.