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The Prodigal Son
Reflection Week of March 6
"While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved. He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him." Luke 15:1-32
The parable invites us to consider our own value system. Lent is about repentance, about letting go of our false value system in order to open to the values of the Gospel. The chief point of this parable is the invitation to each of us (whichever son you wish to identify with) to recognize that the reign of God is sheer gift. The divine inheritance does not belong to us or anyone else. It is the result of the sheer goodness of our Father. The father in this parable is characterized by unconditional love toward both his sons, each of whom abused the inheritance by wanting to take possession of it in his own way. Each is equally guilty of rejecting the goodness and love of this extraordinary father who is not put off by either of them; neither by the wild dissipation of the younger son, nor by the bitter self-righteousness of the elder. The elder son is offered just as much merry as the younger, but because of his self-righteousness, it is harder for him to receive it. His pride will not allow him to accept the inheritance as sheer gift.
Actually, there is no inheritance; there is only stewardship for what has been freely given. As stewards, we have an obligation to share with others the mercy we have freely received. This is the value system that shook the conventional piety of the people of Jesus' time to its roots.
Excerpt from Mystery of Christ by Fr. Thomas Keating, chapter 2