Grace: To gain knowledge of what I have lost through sin and to then have the courage to return to the Father who loves me.
Text: Lk 15
Reflection: In the three parables from today’s text for prayer, we hear of three people who go searching for what they have lost. Whether each has lost a sheep or a coin or his very own beloved son, they all search for it earnestly until it is found. The motivation for their search arises from their knowledge of not only that the item or the person has been lost, but also of the value of what has been lost. The search itself shows us that the person who has lost something desperately wants to find it and is willing to expend great amounts of energy in order to once again hold what is lost close to his (or her) heart.
This obviously applies to the search of the Father for the son, for (while the son is still a long way off) the Father rushes out to him and puts a ring on his finger and a robe on his shoulders. His eagerness is evident from his meeting the prodigal one after his first signs of repentence and his first attempt to return home to the Father. Rejecting the base and vile existence that he once chose for himself, the son’s return is a source of great joy and gladness for the Father.
But perhaps there is another significant point to the story. The eagerness that the Father has in searching for what is lost can also apply to us in our own examination of our sinfulness. If we are to imitate the prodigal Father in straining our eyes to see what has been lost even while it is off in the distance, then we might also try to strain our eyes in order to see what we have lost through our own sin. Aware of the value of what we have lost through our own sinfulness, we can then realize how great the distance is that the Father is willing to travel in order to bring us to Himself. Peering into the distance of our past or the distance of our own ignorance, perhaps we could also rejoice in recognizing our sins for what they are. Once we see them, we can then rush to the Father who searches our hearts and once again be restored to our place as His beloved sons and daughters.
Questions: In what ways do I still need to return to the prodigal Father? Where might the mercy and the love of God be able to once again show me my own value as a beloved son or daughter of God? How is God searching for me this Lent? Will I allow myself to be found?