Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Prodigal Son ... Coming to His Senses

Today's readings are so good. If you have ten minutes to spare, please read. You see, I am the lost sheep; I am the lost coin; I am the prodigal son.

These verses strike me particularly:

I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.


Coming to his senses ... “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”


While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.

I didn't realize until today that it is the Father's gaze that allows us to come to our senses. Even when we leave, He doesn't stop looking at us with love. Oh, we hurt Him, but when we return we are bathed and baptized in His very tears. So, my friends, if you've been away, let the Father's gaze draw you near Him. It is never too late to come home.

MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban (1667-70). I have this painting of the Return of the Prodigal Son on a prayer card, the act of contrition, but of course!



Mirka Breen said...

So reminiscent of a Hassidic story where the father says to his prodigal son, "you take one step and I'll walk the rest of the way."

Suman Khisty said...

These readings of today are the first readings covered in RCIA and I just love hearing the deeper meaning. A normal person would not leave his 99 sheep in search of his 1 lost one and end up losing a few more from the 99 but that's where God is different. He is always seeking you and is overjoyed when you are found. The story of the prodigal's son has such deep meaning. Both the good and the bad son didn't know their father, didn't have a relationship with him. The prodigal's son doesn't think he was worthy enough any more but his father came out to greet him, put a ring on his finger (that's like giving him back the credit cards) and put shoes and clothes to give him back his dignity and honor. The good son, though he was obedient didn't realize that everything his father had was for him to enjoy. He had full ownership of his father's business and didn't not need to ask permission to throw a party. See, Jesus is telling us that so many of us, even though we seem to go through all the motions of living right don't know our Heavenly father. We are too busy trying to be good instead of taking time to build a relationship with Him. He doesn't care for us to be perfect. He loves us all the same, even the worst of us. What he wants most is a relationship with us.
OK, this is the longest comment I've ever written :)

Faith E. Hough said...

Yes, beautiful readings. In my previous ms (the one sort of on the shelf for now) I found these themes recurring over and over without any decision from me spurring them forward! I think the story--the truth of it--is so deeply rooted in my heart that it was bound to come out in writing somewhere or another.
And I love the painting--I've seen it before, but never really looked at the details. Even the fatted calf looks rejoicing! :)

Vijaya said...

Mirka, that's a lovely saying. And so true!

Suman, God is CRAZY in love with us, no? You're right, no sane person will go looking for a lost coin, but our Heavenly Father does. I'm really struck by the differences in the attitudes of the obedient son (who is peevish and unforgiving even though nothing was taken away from him) and the prodigal's complete contrition.

Faith, I would love to have a copy of Withering Vine (even an old marked up one).

I love all the layers in this story -- methinks our Lord is the Ultimate Storyteller. As a short story writer, I have much to learn.

R. T. Freeman said...

It's all love. Often, we are grief-stricken and lost in this vale of tears ... so much separation, so much suffering, so much darkness and then we hie ourselves up and off after that "I know ... I'll go to my Father's house" moment. Of course, for some of us, we come to our senses ONLY after we have tried to wrest a husk from a pig to keep from starving to death. (Pig- 1, Prodigal- 0.)

Marcia said...

I love that insight about the father's gaze bringing us to our senses! I've always sympathized with the prodigal's brother, and we don't often see that his father says to him, "You are always with me, and all I have is yours." But isn't that the way of envy -- to see what someone else gets and not see what you have, even if it's the greater.

Vijaya said...

Rosemary, so true. It all boils down to the Father's love for us.

Marcia, I never much identified with the brother, but when I read the story, it strikes me that he never had the essence of the Father, and that's why he's envious because the prodigal with his true repentance, receives what he did not have before ... his Father's essence. I have so much to say about this, but I'm not saying anything very well at all ... oy