March 7 – Welcome Others Home
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.
“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound. But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
There is no greater joy than to find something that was lost. Jesus tells us many parables about the lost being found, whether it is a coin, a pearl, a sheep, or a son. Whenever something is repeated in the Bible it means “pay attention to this, it is important!”
Again, Jesus is found talking with sinners (collective gasp). Jesus went on to tell the story of the prodigal son. When we read this story, we often put ourselves in the position of the lost son coming home to the father, but let’s examine this story from the faithful son who remained with the father. Let us imagine our father just gave us our inheritance and now our younger brother is talking about leaving this ‘wretched’ place.
“But brother,” we say to him, “don’t leave! Father will be so upset since he just gave us everything he had, and now you’re going to leave us? C’mon, just stay a little longer and see how things go.”
Yet, he leaves anyway. We are the ones who stay behind. We comfort our father during his heartbreak. We tend to his business, taking care of his land and servants. We care for our father’s house and during the famine, we are still there taking care of things at home. We sometimes hear rumors of our brother that left, how he had been living and that he was flat broke. We may even thing, “I can’t believe how irresponsible he was? Here father gave us everything we could ever want, and he lost it all! Too bad for him.”
After a long days work in the field, we hear music and celebration. “Wow,” we think, “I can’t wait to get home to see what we are celebrating.” WHAT IS THIS?!? Our brother is home and you’re celebrating?!? We have been here the whole time, helping our father through the pain of losing his son, and tending to his business, and we’ve never received such a celebration. How could father betray us, and not reward us for being here this entire time!
“Oh, hello father. No I do not want to celebrate the return of my brother! Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!”
Seeing the story through the eyes of the faithful son, we can see that we are the ones who are faithful to the Father, and all that is His is ours in heaven! We have our reward and should be drawing upon our heavenly inheritance and enjoying it while we are living on earth, not just going about the Father’s work. We have not lost out on any blessing just because another lost soul has been welcomed by the Father. Just the opposite, we are called by the Father to rejoice with Him that someone whom turned away has returned! No matter the sin: lust, murder, theft, they have repented, asked for forgiveness and will also enjoy a heavenly inheritance with us in heaven. Let us rejoice and be glad for another lost sheep has been found!
Lent in Action:
Do not resent being a faithful servant of the Lord! Find out who is going to be welcomed into your Catholic Church this Easter and rejoice that they have come home.
Father, Thank you for sharing with me my inheritance through your Son, who made me your son/daughter. I will remain faithful to you, doing your work here on earth until I am called to my heavenly home with you. Please allow me to draw upon my heavenly inheritance of peace, love and joy so that I may be at peace during trials, love all of your people and share in your joy all the days of my life. I am proud to be your “faithful child” and I pray that I always make you proud, Father. I love you with all my heart and soul. Amen.