Happy and blessed Mother’s day!
Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)
Jesus, who is our Savior, is always merciful and full of love. He opens His both arms, and welcoming anyone coming to Him. However, at the time that Jesus was on earth, Pharisees and teachers of the law were different. They put the law before Love, and were quick to judge rather than showing mercy. Additionally, they were constantly complaining to Jesus because He was associating with the people whom the Pharisees and the teachers of the law treated as sinners. They taught the knowledge of the law by showing how to judge, but Jesus loved them by demonstrating his love to them. They led the people by the law, but Jesus shepherded the people with love and mercy. Yes, Jesus was the king of love and mercy, but the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were judges to them. As a result, the people were suffering under the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.
Jesus looked around the people around Him. He felt sympathy on them, and also on the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, who dd not know the true meaning of mercy and love. Jesus told a story to both the people suffering and the Pharisees and the teachers of the law:
There was a man, who had two sons. Both brothers were growing up together under the man who was a loving father. He always provided the best to both brothers even before they sensed their needs. They were always provided, and loved. As a result, they had everything that they need. Nothing was lacking. They were blessed by the loving father, and they lived in the house of their loving father. They were also surrounded by the people who loved them. They lived as if they lived in Heaven. No other places could make them feel loved and being fully satisfied in love.
As they were growing up, the two sons start to know more and more about the outside of the father’s house. All good things were always flowing in the father’s house. However, slowly and steadily, they were getting used to the good things. Soon, they felt that all good things were plain and boring. Instead, the things outside were looking exciting and interesting. Additionally, the tight bond between two brothers were starting to erode. From the earliest ages, the two brothers thought that they were one because the loving father loved both dearly as Jesus loved His people and His churches. They shared everything and they laughed together. However, as they were knowing more about the outside world, they started realizing it was not true. For example, they used to have two birthday parties each year. On the day of the older brother’s birthday, the younger brother was equally joyful as his older brother. His older brother invited his friends, and the younger brother also invited his friends to the birthday party as if it was his birthday. Thus, at the older brother’s birthday, both friends of the older and the younger brothers were at the birthday party. In fact, they shared friends and they friends did not make any distinction. What a beautiful scene it actually was! It happened vice versa. On the younger brother’s birthday, the older brother invited his friends as if his birthday. That’s why they had two birthdays each year. Both brothers got equal birthday presents on both birthdays each year. It was a truly beautiful scene. However, as they are getting older, they were getting realized the differences between the two. The older brother was getting more responsibilities than the younger one. The older one was getting more involved in the father’s business than the younger one. This slow transition made the younger brother look outside more and more. In fact, he was starting to have his own friends whom he did not share with his older brother. He started giving more attention to his own friend, and the stories told by them. Over and over again, he started hearing about a distant land, and good things in the distant land.
The younger brother had never visited the distant land, but he started believing what he was hearing about the distant land and the good things in the land. He was slowly losing the interest in the father’s house, and he was thinking more about the distant land. One day, it was one of those days that everything did not go well. Instead, all things were crumpling onto his head, which crushed him and gave lots of pains in his heart. He looked at his older brother, he looked happy and contented with everything happening in the father’s house. The younger brother thought about what would happen in future. After all, most of the things that he saw in the father’s house would be the older brother’s. This thought made him even more depressed. Once this painful thought passed through the younger brother’s brain, his heart was unsettling. Things that he liked in the father’s house suddenly made him feel distant. Instead, those thing in the distant land were closer to him and more real to him. The younger brother was in a serious dilemma. He was start feeling that there was no real reason why he had to stay in the father’s house any longer.
The younger brother came to his father, and told, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ His father could not believe what he was hearing. He asked, ‘Can you say again?’ The younger one repeated. His father asked why. Without answering, the younger one insisted before his father. His father was silent for a while. His father looked at the younger son’s face, which was far different. He knew it was too late to change his younger son’s heart. So he agreed to divide his wealth between his brothers. He divided his wealth and gave the younger son’s portion to the younger brother. The younger sons happily left and returned to his room. The father thought that it took care of his younger son’s frustration although he could not pin point the exact reason why his younger son behaved strange. No matter what happened, for the father’s point of view, he was his beloved son.
A few days later the younger son packed all his belongings and moved out from his father’s house. It was a real shock to his father, who had never thought that the younger son would leave his house of love. The younger son’s departure gave a deep scare in the father’s heart. The father now lost his own son, who left him. His younger son did not tell anything about where he was going to his father. Later, the father heard through the younger son’s friends that he left to a distant land, where he had never visited before. The father also told that the distant land was not as friendly as the land where the father and two sons lived. This made him concern more, and added pains to the father’s heart.
The younger son moved to the distant land that he heard about. As soon as he arrived, he was truly joyful. He was surrounded by new friends, who were really good to him. He had parties every day and night. Each day new friends were added because they were attracted by the never-ending partied provided by the younger brother with his father’s money. All were happy with the younger son, and he was happy too. He had no more heartache. Everything was good, as long as he had parties with his father’s money. The money brought from his father’s house did not last long. It was getting dying up. He could not continue all the parties. He had less and less parties, and so were his friends. Then his money completely ran out. He stopped his party all together, and so were his friends. No more friends were around him, and he was alone in the distant land.
A great famine swept over the land. Everybody in the distant land was suffering. The younger son, who wasted all of the money brought form his father’s house, had no money to buy food. He began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
He was in the middle of the pigs, and he realized how harsh the life outside of the father’s house was. However, it was too late. He was now in the distant land, which was far from his father’s house. He had to stay where he was because he chose his departure from his father’s house by himself. Fighting against his hunger was not easy. It was so difficult to endure. During night, he always dreamed about his father’s house where he was loved and always satisfied with good food. One night he got up out of the same dream, he looked up starts in a dark sky. All stars looked at him, who was starving and miserably living among the pigs. However, the stars were so clean and clear like a shiny crystal. He was looking at the stars in his misery and desperation. Suddenly, he heard a voice – “Go home. Go back to home.”
The younger son finally came to his senses. He said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
He patiently waited for dawning. As soon as the sun rose, he left the pigs, and the distant land all together. He was heading for his father’s house. He brought lots of wealth, but now he had nothing. He alone walked. He continued walking toward home, which was painful and shameful. However, he recited again and again what he told to himself under the crystal-clear sparkling stars last night. It was the only strength made him continue walking toward his father’s house.
His father was always looking out for his younger son returning to him. Every early morning, his father prayed for his son’s return. Then all day long, he waited and waited for his younger son’s return. However, his son did not return. The father was so much in pain every night while thinking about the younger son. He was also guilty of losing his younger son. He always thought that he could have done differently so that his younger son would have stayed with him. Everyday was a painful day to him. He wanted to see his son, but he could not see his loved son because his son was no more with him. Even so, he did not lose his hope that he would see his son again. Looking out a long way while searching for his lost son was his major task each day.
While the younger son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son in his guilty told in shame, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
The father was truly in joy because the prodigal son had returned home. The younger son was neither righteous nor sinless to him. Even so, he loved the younger son. The prodigal son gave him a big scare in heart, and made him sad every day. However, when he saw his prodigal son returned to him with a contrite heart while repenting the sins committed to him, his heat was full of joy. Why? His love is greater than all sins committed by his prodigal son. Before seeing the father again, the prodigal son thought that the sins were so great that they could not be forgiven, but the prodigal son was wrong. His father’s forgiving heart was greater than the sins of his son. His grace was higher than that of the sins committed. His love was deeper than the depth of the sins that the prodigal son committed against his father. The father’s love was triumphant over all sins that the prodigal son committed.
In fact, we are the prodigal son before God, but God loves and accepts us as His sons and daughters. His love is far greater, wider and higher than all our sins. Like the father in the above story, God is always looking out for us to embrace us and put us in His loving boson. Then He forgives all sins by clothing us with His mercy, grace and love. What else can we ask before God? Should we just answer to His loving voice of calling, and come to God, our Ever-Loving Father with our contrite and authentically repenting heart?
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)