Merciful Father

As I ponder on the parable of the Merciful Father in the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of the Lenten season, four insights emerge in my mind and heart which relate to the synodal journey.

First, the synodal journey involves the People of God, as a family, walking together. On this journey, there are often the unpredictable and random choices of some members who abandon the journey to go off on their own. This is manifested in the action of the younger son who “got together everything he had and left for a distant country. . .”

Second, the father’s response to the return of the younger son must be the Church’s response. “While he was still a long way off, the father saw him and was moved with pity.” By virtue of seeing the son implies that the father would have been waiting and looking out for him. He is never forgotten. He is still a member of the family. Moved with pity, the father appreciates his elder son’s brokenness.

Third, the father intensifies his response. Notice the vivid and intentional action. “He ran . . . clasped him. . . kissed him tenderly . . .bring out the best robe. . . put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. . .and began to celebrate.”

Fourth, there are members of the People of God who express unhappiness and unwillingness to reach out to persons on the margin. Like the elder son, they will argue, “Why do we need to kick up a fuss about these people?”

This parable of the merciful and compassionate father is a Lenten gift to the Church. It teaches us about a spirituality that must shape our attitudes and behaviour on the synodal journey, especially towards those who opt to live on the periphery.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: