Fourth Week of Lent

The parable of the prodigal son is a story we all know well. Which person do you feel closest to or would you be? For me it is always the older brother! I am not sure if this is because I am the oldest in my family as far a birth order and personality or that I can relate to some of the words that he speaks. It is as if he is saying, “Wait, all my hard work and efforts don’t count for anything?” He harbors resentment for his brother. How often do we hold resentment in our hearts? The words echo in me as I work hard to follow Jesus and do the right thing. But what I realize in reflecting on this reading is the older brother is also a sinner and lost, just as I am. He does not speak or act with mercy. How many times do we dig in our heals knowing we are right, when we should be more merciful? What is important to note is that God’s love is not earned but given to us freely, no matter what! When we mess up, God is there for us with open arms, ready to forgive. The end of the parable leaves us in suspense not knowing if the older brother enters the feast or stays outside, probably on purpose. Are we like the older brother and what will we do? Will we turn away from our merciful Father who is also waiting on us, or will we enter the feast?