Study: Reflect on your life for a moment. When was a time you really (REALLY) messed up? When was a time you were upset that others didn’t “get what they deserve” when it came to punishment?
Pray: What in your life needs God’s forgiveness and mercy right now? Ask for the Lord’s grace.
Serve: How can you reach out to others, to foster reconciliation and a new beginning? How can you help heal a situation in your life?
Who doesn’t know the parable of the Prodigal Son? This story told by Jesus has 3 main characters:
- The Father – who reaches out to his sons
- The Younger Son – who is reckless and wasteful in his sins
- The Older Son – who is angry and unwilling to forgive his brother
Let’s start with the Younger Son. He messes up – no question about that. He presumes his inheritance, wastes it on sinful living, and is reduced to abject poverty through his own fault. Finally, at the end of his rope he comes to his senses and asks for mercy, if only to be a servant in his Father’s house.
The Older Son is dutiful, hard working, and faithful. He does his duty and carries out every command. Yet when he hears how the Father celebrates his younger brother’s return he is angry…it’s not fair!
Finally the Father. Note how the Father goes out to both of his sons. The Father takes the initiative:
- with the Younger Son he runs out to meet him and assure him a place in the household
- with the Older Son he goes out to meet him to encourage forgiveness and welcome
Perhaps we might use the next few days to consider this simple question: Which Son am I? Have I made some really bad mistakes, caused harm, and wounded relationships with others? Have I held on to a grudge, nursing old injuries, unwilling to forgive and seek reconciliation? Or perhaps we are a mixture of both – making our share of messes and denying mercy to those in need.
Whatever we discover about ourselves, we will find our Father who comes to meet us where we are and lead us to a deeper level of grace. May we return to the Lord in our need and be filled with the grace of healing reconciliation.
If you are looking for more material to help you this Lent, you might consider this list of presentations I have offered over the last couple of years. Feel free to check it out and share if you find it helpful:
Note: This post was first published on February 29, 2016.