Have you ever tried to look at the definition of prodigal? Prodigality means: the quality or fact of being prodigal; wasteful extravagance in giving, in spending, an instance of it, lavish abundance.
To this point, we have always thought and talked about the younger son as being the prodigal son. He freely spent without thinking about tomorrow, without looking back. But have you tried to see the father as prodigal? And as a matter of fact, how generous is God the Father with each one of us, always giving, forgiving, extravagant in dispensing graces, favors, to each of his children, not looking at the way we waste his gifts, but always ready to do more, to keep on giving, to go beyond?
So, in the midst of our journey through Lent, our Father, our prodigal Father, is calling on his sons and daughters, to see how close we are in imitating Him, in the way we deal with Him and with our brothers and sisters.
To help us gauge our behavior, let’s look at theoldest son in the Gospel. He pretends he has been always faithful to his father. He never disobeyed any of his commandments, but now, because his brother came back and is been welcomed by their father, he begins to not listen to him. “When his father came out and pleaded with him to come in and be part of the celebration to welcome his brother, he refused to enter the house. By now, it is not his brother any more but his father’s son.
What about reconciliation? Which faithful son would not be a faithful brother? St Paul tells us in the second reading, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation.” If we are members of his body, the Church, we are members of the same body. How can we get estranged from one another? “God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. How are we doing in responding to this appeal from our prodigal Father, like to forgive as we are forgiven, to have the courage to be prodigal as is our Father, letting go of past offenses, grudges, going over without counting, just trying to be like our heavenly Father, to be as prodigal as He is?Doing our best to do that is not any good will task, it is a ministry, a service, a responsibility, a duty.
In a commentary on this passage, Amy Ekeh, Catholic speaker and theology speaker says,“This is our ministry, entrusted to us by the God for whom reconciliation is the crowning jewel, the precious piece, the thing desired most of all. Of course, the jury is still out on whether we human beings will faithfully carry out this ministry of reconciliation. It is said that when asked how he thought the ‘Christian experiment’ was going, C.S. Lewis replied, I don’t know. We haven’t tried it yet. His wry response reflects what we all know to be true: we have failed to bring the reconciling love of Jesus Christ to bear in our homes, our communities, and our world.”
Fr. Danis Ridore