As we enter into the most holy days of the season of Lent, we are being invited to remember with vividness the story of our salvation. In this year of Mercy we are especially provoked to reflect with deeper affection God's manifold mercies bestowed upon us “who have sinned and have fallen short of His glory” (cf. Rom. 2:23).
At the center of this drama of sin and grace, we cannot but be reminded of the story of the prodigal son, a prism with which we are to see our own personal stories colliding into that pervading interplay of ignominy and redemption, captivity and liberation, shame and glory.
Looking at the story we see the younger son, wanting to live his life on his own terms, sold his part of the inheritance and set off into a “distant country.” Scholars suggest that the younger son, by his choice had exiled himself, wandering into a vast and empty space.
He found himself in a place that was as far away as he could get from the father. Then beset in wretched misery he is suddenly awakened by a memory of love, a memory of his father's house. And so, as if arising from a deep and desolate slumber of near death, he came to his senses and said: “I shall get up and go to my Father,” (cf. Lk. 15:18).
How many times in our sinfulness have we also fallen asleep with that same kind of desolate slumber as the younger brother? St. Paul exhorts us not to sleep as others do but to stay awake and sober (cf. 1Thes. 5:6), thus becoming fully alive in God.
Holy week is a re-capturing of a memory of love that should awaken us to rise up and return to our heavenly father who “tip-toes” in expectation for our return, for as the Lord himself assured us there is more joy in heaven upon a sinner who repents.
May our celebration of the Easter mysteries bring us true conversion and spur us on to share the Father's joy, for we who once were lost, now are found; dead abut now are truly alive!*
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