Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Prodigal Older Sibling

Today's Gospel is the Prodigal Son story. This is one of those parables that has so many layers and messages and intentions that one can read it every year, and each time because of where one is at the time get a different message.

For me this year I am resonating with the Older Brother. Here my younger brother had to go practically to the gate of hell to understand what is important and I am begrudging my father's joy at his return. I have felt this in my own life. I have seen people who wasted half of their lives searching for whatever, and then seen them be transformed and blessed when they finally see the truth. Rather than rejoice, I feel almost envious, why are they farther along than I am? Why do they deserve what I have been faithful to all these years? Looking at it from the context of this story I can see that what I was doing was devaluing everything that was mine all these years.

I think the greatest help to me in learning this lesson has been my work in Christian Initiation ministry. When I help someone along in their journey to full communion with the Catholic faith I get to share with them all of the riches that have blessed my life and kept me faithful and fulfilled. I get to watch as they grow in faith, as they come to love what I love, and as they come to know the peace of being a child of the King. When I see someone to whom I have ministerd attending daily Mass, or at Eucharistic Adoration, or receiving the grace of Reconciliation it really brings tears to my eyes. How can I be selfish with the gifts God has lavished upon me?

So for today I choose to rejoice when anyone comes to know the truth of God's promise of inheritance of eternal life.


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