Identifying yourself with the son ….
Let us take a look at the characters of the prodigal son. My favorite the younger son, his leaving was not just walking out of the home in which he grew up. If that were the case then all of us college students here will be associated with that, for we left our parent’s home and asked for pocket money. Anyway that is not the reason why we all fall into that category. I read in a book called “The Return of the Prodigal son” it said Faith is the radical trust that home has always been there and always will be. Walking out of that is saying things like I do not trust that Faith will carry me through, it is saying no I do not want your love.
Take a look at the oldest son; growing up, I wasn’t thought a lot about the eldest son. I always thought he had a point; he was obedient, didn’t go out partying, as a matter of fact while there was celebration he was out in the fields working. Last summer I had the opportunity to er better after watching a series of the Catholicism project. The older son says (Luke 16:29) “ Look all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends” ….All I hear when I read that is “I served you, you never gave me”. Surely he was present with his father physically alright, but not spiritually; doing something not out of love for God, but waiting for something in return is not love, it is like take is taking upon a job and awaiting a pay check. Not to be confused with praying to God for something. In a way we are like the older son when we do God’s will not for love alone but expecting some blessing.
Now the Father, everyone’s favorite! Loving, caring, forgiving! It is important to understand that at that time and still in certain cultures around the world today, it was very unusual for a father to run towards a son, it always worked the other way round as the father is that high authorities figure, strong, the leader, everybody was expected to come to him as a sign of respect. And also you were expected to get your share of your Father’s property was after his death, so it was like saying dude go ahead and die already. However he humbled himself and just ran towards his long gone son. He kissed his hands and forgave his son. He loved although wounded. We all are the Father when we love each other genuinely and forgive.
The term we use to describe what the son did is sin. It is important to understand that Sin is not something as simple as forgetting God’s love or not appreciating God’s gift, it is something specific and concrete; disobedience to God’s commandment; it is using the free will and actively choosing to do wrong, in most case knowing that what we are doing is wrong. It is seating in an examination room and choosing to cheat the neighbor’s exam, it is lying to someone else to make myself look better, it is saying I do not trust that Faith will help through.
Now this may come out a little rough, but sin is grave, horrible, it is bad. But don’t you worry that’s why we have the sacrament of reconciliation. Cathechism section 1423 and 1424. It is called * Sacrament of conversion, because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin * Sacrament of penace, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion * Sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace” * Sacrament of reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles.
I am ready to bet that someone in here is asking themselves “Why would I have to go to a priest, a man like me, to confess my sins?” Well my dear for one simple reason – Jesus commissioned his apostles and entrusted them with the ministry of reconciliation. In John 20:23 He said “whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and