MI 7: 14-15, 18-20
PS 103: 1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
LK 15: 1-3, 11-32
“Your brother was dead has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”
Ah, the prodigal son parable. I toss the word “prodigal” around in my daily life fairly loosely. My “prodigal roommate” will return to our room after long expanses of time in the library, or my “prodigal Nalgene” always seems to find its way back to me no matter how many times I’ve left it in the biology labs.
The two words used to describe the prodigal son that particularly resonate with me are “lost” and “dead.” We all know how it feels to be lost – I chronically have no idea where I’m going, but I also often lose sight of things that are important. I am the prodigal son as he demands his inheritance when I take my gifts, talents, and passions and use them exclusively for self-promotion and personal gain. I am the prodigal son as he squanders his money when I over-invest myself in clubs and organizations with the intention building my resume. I am the prodigal son as he longs to eat from the pig trough when I allow myself to prioritize earthly pleasures and successes over the deep joy found in genuine fellowship and friendship.
And “dead.” How often do we find ourselves dormant in our faith? In our relationships? In our lives? I see the Lenten season as a challenge for action. So let us come ALIVE this Lenten season. Let us turn that love, compassion, and humility the father has for his sons to our own brothers and sisters. Our father is waiting with open arms. He celebrates our return.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” – Thomas Merton
Meg Buckley is a junior in the College of Public Health and Social Justice.