If we attend Mass regularly we have more than likely heard the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32). It is a parable that speaks to all of us at the very depth of our hearts because the parable of the Prodigal Son is a story of mercy and a story of unconditional love.
In the story, the Father has two sons; his oldest son is the hardworking one who seems to be committed to his work in the Father’s home. He works hard and he obeys his Father. The other son, the youngest son is a daydreamer, a young man who has desires to follow his passions and dreams. I am sure that the oldest also had passions and dreams that he wanted to pursue but he chose not to, but the youngest son, decided to depart from his Father including breaking relationship with him by asking for his share in the inheritance, which was almost like saying, “I don’t want you in my life any longer”. The Father gives him his share and he runs off and spends it on “living it up” to the point where he runs out of funds and finds himself hungry and suffering and living in a state close to that of an animal.
We can be both of the sons in our own lives. Some days we might be like the older son and be faithful other days we can be like the younger son and be rebellious. God the Father loves us and he always desires to keep us in relation to him. While we are with him he provides for us, he lavishes his riches of graces on us and never abandons us. But we are sinners and sin takes the inheritance of God’s grace and squander it on our own passions and desires. Both sons were sinners. Although the oldest was faithful to his Father we see towards the end his sin of jealousy. The difference between the oldest and the youngest is that the oldest, even though he was a sinner and surly failed his duties as a son of the Father, remained with his Father. I am sure that he sought the Father when he failed and remained in relationship with the Him. The youngest, however, removed himself from his Father; he wanted to move away and be out of his presence. This is the same that we can choose to do in our own sin…In sin; we can both remain in the Father and return to him each time we sin, or we can choose to remove ourselves from the Father.
But, the good news is that even if we fall into our sin and remove ourselves from the Father, the Father continues to yearn for us. The prodigal son decides to return to his Father, but is fearful because in his mind he feels as though the Father would not accept him. But when the Father sees the son far off, he runs out and embraces him. It strikes that the Father saw him far off and runs to him, he did not wait for the son to approach him, but he ran out to him and embraced him. Immediately the Father claims him once more as his son and celebrates greatly because his beloved son has returned.
We might be caught up in our own sin, and perhaps we feel as though there is no way that God will accept us because of the “SIZE” of our sin, but Jesus reminds us that God is much greater than our sin because his love is much greater than our failings. God sees us far off in our journey and runs out to embrace us and reclaim us as his son, he forgives us and he reminds us that his love will never change for us, if we receive it.