By: Maggie Leonard
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Reflection—v. 18, I have sinned… before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son
The son in this story messed up big-time. I think it’s incredible how readily he is willing to accept the consequences for his actions. In fact, in his view, to be accepted as one of his father’s employees would be a merciful response to his actions. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so receptive to consequences for my mistakes. When I cause another offense, in some way it was well-intentioned—I want them to know that. Don’t we vie for the best-case scenarios, hoping for the benefit of the doubt, assuming exceptions can be made for us? Every time I read this story I expect the son to say, ‘Father, I have sinned against you, but I was young and foolish. ’ He doesn’t do that, as he plans what he will say to his father, he makes no excuses and is ready to accept his fate. Humility is such a gift, it keeps our hearts open to others. Moreover, what a gracious man this father is. Seeing this young man is enough for his heart to be moved before an apology is made. An apology really helps me to forgive; sometimes even with an apology, I’m a little bull-headed: ‘So, what exactly are you apologizing for? You know, my feelings were really hurt.’ What graciousness he has not to dwell on the hurt, but to move toward celebrating his son’s growth. May I one day be so merciful.
Prayer God, grow in me the humility to admit faults and the grace to forgive easily.