The parables of love and love in response in both the Gospels of Luke 15 and Matthew 21 tell us about the power of forgiveness. Today's reflection is based on the gospel of Luke in conjunction to Matthew. The younger son had great faith in his father but not in the way the father expected. He believed that his father loved him so much that if he asked the father for half of the property the father would grant his request. Having money he left home and run away. When he asked for the money he thought of himself only and cared nothing about the feelings of his father and the elder brother. Selfishness causes disunity and separation. It hurts the feelings of other people. Selfishness blocks the heart of a person to have compassion for others. Selfishness is not greed but it is the lack of consideration and having poor concerned for the needs of others but its chief focus is with one's own personal profit and pleasure. Selfishness is a part of human nature. Both of the sons had great concerned for their own greed more than for the love of their father and that caused them to misunderstand their father's love.
With money in hand the young son was following his dreams that the world should promise him a great time. Indeed, money gave him a great time but it only until the money run out. When the money had gone the great time ended also and his friends one by one left him. He was now alone and faced the reality of life with great desolation and rejection. He longed to live a life free of moral obligation and showed no concern for his father. After he has spent all the money he now realized that having no concern for other people's feelings he lived in isolation. Without moral obligation he lowered himself to the same level as an animal, eating food of pigs. Dreams and reality aren't the same. All the promises the world has to offer are not free and it needs money to make it real for without money the glory the world's promises are in vain. In contrast to his father's love all the promises his father offers required no money but obedience and the commitment to love in return.
Love one another as I have loved you. Jn 13,34
Natural famine and desolation opened the eyes of the young man and allow him to see the difference between the love of his father and the love of the world's promises. His father's love is a caring and forgiving love while the world's love is measured on the possession of worldly materials that one has. Knowing that he failed his father's love but relying on his father's kindness and compassion he returned home. He returned home with the expectation that his father would treat him the same as one of the hired workers. Again he misjudged his father love. Out of his expectation the father welcomed him home with great joy and threw a party to celebrate. He dressed him with new garment and new shoes to reclaim his sonship's status.
We are children of God and put in Saint Paul's language we are heirs of the kingdom. The parable tells us that God loves us greater than we can expect and that God is waiting for us to return without judgment but forgiving and embracing us into God's family. It would never be too late to leave the kingdom of this world to embrace the kingdom of God and reclaim the sonship and heir in God's kingdom.
Having faith in our heavenly Father is the way of eternal life.