As Easter approaches, so many of the readings hit home for me. We spend 40 days leading up to Mother Mary losing her son. This all brings so much of the Bible to life for me and brings my faith in surviving this loss to a bearable level. It puts many things into perspective.
Today’s mass was about the prodigal son returning home after squandering away inheritances and making poor choices only to be welcomed with open arms and forgiven by his father for those transgressions. The father, so happy to have his son home, reacted with a feast and joyful celebration!! For those who have lost a child, I hope this resonates with you as well. This part of the Bible is my coping strategy in a nutshell!! Those with more than one child can still relate as I have too!!
The part of the story that is strongest for me is the joyful welcome from the Father. I envision my son being welcomed with open arms in celebration that he is home. True, not my home, but my home was never his permanent address. My heart, that’s another story!! My son will always be in my heart. When a child dies, we tend to put that child on a pedestal while the remaining child(dren) stand there, lost, knowing they have never left and now feel second fiddle. I have tried not to do that. I have tried very hard to remember the whole life of my child I lost, which was laced with some not so very smart choices on his part. His life was not too different than our biblical prodigal son. I want to be forgiving as well. I know my surviving child has a loss, too, and is hurting. We need each other now more than ever!
This story in the Bible does bring another conversation to the forefront. The older son, the one who stood by his father, working, never leaving, obeying all commands, responded to his brother’s celebration with animosity and jealousy. Why? It causes me to wonder, too! I can see this divide here during our Earthly situations as well, and for similar reasons. Luckily, I don’t believe it happened in my home, and for that, I feel blessed!!
I believe we all have motivation and drive, but what are we hoping the end result to be? Do you think this older brother was being selfish and greedy in a different way than the brother who squandered his inheritance? Maybe our good deeds are for the wrong reasons. The reason I ask is because this older son was affirmed he would have all the father’s belongings and land, but was still upset at the celebration. He wanted to be recognized and praised for his loyalty to his father. Jealousy comes into play here. He was upset that his father had never celebrated and had a feast for him. Was his loyalty taken for granted or ignored? I am going to delve deep inside my actions as a person from this point forward and make sure I am not reflecting this behavior in my actions. I don’t want to do good for others only for the praise I want to receive in the end. That is not what should motivate us! That is, unless it is our reward in Heaven. I have said that phrase many times, “I will get my reward in Heaven.” I say it with wishful feelings, not guaranteed. Our actions should be from the goodness of our hearts with our only hope and drive being a reward of being welcomed home in Heaven by our Father with celebration and forgiveness for all the times we were not on our best behavior.
I truly believe my son has been welcomed home and a celebration ensued. I am good with that. If he had made it home that night in August 2017 after the thought he might not ever come home to me again, I, too, would have had a celebration! I would have hugged him and been mad at the same time, but still grateful he was home!! I do believe he was forgiven of any wrong doing here on Earth. As he was accepted into Heaven, I pray no one was upset that he was not deprived of this venue because of his prior transgressions. But, if so, they may be acting very much like the brother of the prodigal son.
None of us are perfect and we were all born sinners. The actions we have on Earth may be opposed by others. We may be estranged. Maybe we lost worldly goods in the process. We all have the ability and opportunity to be welcomed home with open arms. I have no doubt. The vision of my son being celebrated and with Our Father is my dream, literally!! I, for one, hope I am forgiven and accepted back into good graces when needed. I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here…
#theprodigalsonishome #weallcanbesaved #mysoniswithmyfather #welcomehomecelebration