Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
It seems like nothing new is here; not much has changed. The son left home, wanting to go his own way. He abandoned the ways of Israel in order to have a “better” life.
How many of us know of someone’s son or daughter, maybe our own, who has abandoned the old ways—the ways of the Church? They might not go as wild as the prodigal in today’s Gospel, and many seem like “good people,” but they no longer worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
They want to go their own way, which implies away from us.
In today’s Gospel, as Jesus was speaking from his heart to the gathered crowds, including tax collectors and other sinners, the people in his “church,” i.e., the important scribes and Pharisees of the Old Covenant, were outraged. If Jesus was so important, he should be speaking to them. It must have been an odd scene, maybe in the town square, with an unusual assortment of people. And Jesus loved each one of them—young and old, Pharisee and prostitute, healthy and crippled. What was God about in this moment?
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them.
In the parable, the father wanted to reconcile his wayward son with himself; then he wanted to reconcile the older son with himself; and he wanted the two brothers to be reconciled with each other. I am sure that there are those of us who feel exactly the same way about our own families.
Whomever we know who remains unreconciled, in or out of our family, is waiting for the touch of Christ’s love so that he or she might live again. Do we harbor any disdain, resentment, contempt, or disrespect against a person or a people? Do we think of ourselves as better than someone else—people who act or think a certain way? In or out of the Church, there seems to be a great deal of division in our time. All are in need of the touch of Christ’s love. So, how can they receive it?
Yup, we have the answer.
Paul reminds us today, All this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation.
We are it, dear mothers. We need to hand Christ our sins and receive his reconciliation. And remember, it is Christ doing the work. Even as we forgive and become reconciled with one another, we rely on the Lord to keep our hearts open wide.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress, he saved him.
He does not count our trespasses against us. Oh Glory!
And when the lost and forsaken see our faces radiant with joy, they will be drawn to the power of the love of God that they see in us. Our children, whose return we pray for fervently, and all who feel estranged will, at the very least, be intrigued and want to find out how we became that way. Let’s not wait any longer.
Come, Holy Spirit!