Sunday, March 27, 2022
by Sister Mary McClure, SNDdeN
The Prodigal Father
Sometimes we can be so familiar with a particular Bible Story that we can lose the impact of the story.
You know the story. We all do. The younger son wants his inheritance NOW so that he can go off and have a good time. No sense in waiting, (who knows how many years) until his father dies.
The son wants and needs his inheritance now! Now!
Even before the moment of his departure the Father begins to grieve. Begins to feel the pain of loss. The ache of a breaking heart – have you ever felt this pain, this loss, this emptiness? The pain of not knowing where he is, where she is.
And the son left behind – he too will be caught up in the father’s grief as he remains faithful to his work and his father – He will see his father looking into the distance watching and waiting.
(Which son would you be? Perhaps this is the moment to visit those feelings of resentment that we still carry. Perhaps this is the time to let one go.)
It is the Prodigal Father – who lavishes love and wealth on his returning son – spoils The son with a gold ring, expensive clothes, a big celebration. He has forgiven his son’s rejection of his faith -working with pigs in an alien land.
The father ‘wastes’ his wealth and love and forgiveness on this lost son –
Who had come back from the dead.
I sometimes imagine that God experienced the loss of His son Jesus when he died alone on the Cross – our God knows loss and heartache
And our God knows our heart aches
Our experience of loss
We can thank God whose compassion enfolds us with his endless prodigal love …
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘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. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
The Gospel of the Lord
Meet Sister Mary McClure, SNDdeN
Sister Mary McClure was born in Scotland and first met the Sisters of Notre de Namur when she was training to be a teacher in Glasgow. After teaching for some time, she joined the Notre Dame community. Mary has been in educational ministries in schools, colleges and university. She has taught across the spectrum – from infants to post-graduate students. She has degrees in theology and psychology. While a member of the Congregational Leadership Team, Mary had the privilege of seeing and experiencing the Notre Dame mission on five continents. At present Mary is engaged in the ministry of leadership for the British Province. Mary enjoys being an SNDdeN! Her interests are spending time with family and friends, reading, writing, walking and gardening.