Jesus parable of the prodigal son has always been a key part of the preparation of children for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is today’s Gospel. In meeting with parents of the children we reflect on this Story of Jesus together. I would ask them which character in the story do you identify with: The father, the young son or the elder son?
I know I identify with the elder son partly because I am the eldest in our family. The elder son objected to his father bringing him back into the family after all he had done which hurt the family. Henri Nouwen wrote a very popular book “The Return of the Prodigal Son” which is a meditation on based on his reflections on a Rembrandt painting called Prodigal Son, which hangs in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In the picture the elder son is in the shadows so you could miss him when you first look at the picture. This expresses the dark, resentful side of the elder son who is full of envy towards the younger son. The elder son lived an obedient and dutiful life. Yet when his brother came home, he felt resentful, unkind, selfish and without joy.
One of my favourite poets is Elizabeth Jenning who has written a very fine poem “The Prodigal Son.” It is well with reading.
“But in the house someone is slamming doors
and swearing and saying “It isn’t fair. I was good”.
Lord as I mediate on this parable help me to experience your wonderful mercy and healing this Lent.