When he returned a second time,
the straps of his sandals broken,
his robe stained with wine,
it was not as easy to forgive.
Excerpt from Allison Funk’s “The Prodigal’s Mother Speaks with God”
Fr. George preached an excellent sermon on the parable of The Prodigal Son on Sunday, and it reminded me of Allison Funk’s own reflection on the theme. The perspective shifts here, as we imagine what might happen in the Prodigal’s future through his mother’s eyes—a possible future that belies an easy redemption.
Everyone loves a happy ending, but that is not always what we get. I appreciate Funk’s attention to the complications that sometimes accompany reconciliation: the son caught in a cycle of self-destructive behavior. The brother who harbors years of seething anger and resentment. The mother who moves through her love, disappointment, and grief in the matter of a single glance.
Recently, I’ve found myself reflecting on the nature of our liturgical year: how we move through the same feasts and fasts every year. It is not a linear route, but a circular one. We return to the same lessons, year after year, hoping to find in them a word that speaks to our circumstances now.
Every Good Friday, we remember that we, too, could have been a part of the mob that crucified Jesus—we remember that the possibility remains now, despite our best attempts to prove otherwise. And every Easter Sunday, we remember that God loves us anyway.
Thank goodness for the God of second chances. (And third. And fourth.) As we head toward Holy Week, let us remember this God—the one who bears our burdens and calls us to new life,
–Fr. JavierTags: From the Clergy, Hope for the Journey