Today’s Thoughts: The story of the Forgiving Father is what we are asked to reflect on today. I have used this parable many times, often when I am preparing young people for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For me the first half of the story about the younger son and his return home is a great image for the sacrament. All the elements of the sacrament are there, recognition of sinfulness, the journey to the sacrament, saying we are sorry and forgiveness.
The second half of the story about the older brother reflects another side of sinfulness. We often only think of sinfulness as bad things that we do. We think of the Ten Commandments. However, sin can be what we don't do. Sin can be standing in judgment, self-righteousness, pride, envy, jealousy and anger especially when we think we are right. Sin can be refusing to be part of the family, part of the faith community. Sin can be thinking only of ourselves and playing the victim card.
I have always felt this story presented the two sides of sin and often for many of us the older brother is where we usually find ourselves. The hopeful sign in the story is that the father is in the whole story. He is wherever we are. Always willing to forgive, always willing to welcome us home, always willing to come out and welcome us back into the family, into the celebration. All we need to do is let go of what we have done or failed to do and accept his forgiveness, his love!
Perhaps each morning, each day of our lives is an opportunity to return home to our loving Father. God is always waiting for us to recognize our sinfulness and return home to his loving mercy.
Have a holy and blessed Saturday everyone.
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...