Do you have a favorite song? A favorite book or verse that you always gravitate towards? How about a favorite prayer or Scripture verse?
For me, because it speaks to God’s unconditional love, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32, is my favorite reading in all of Scripture. It was the Gospel reading at Mass on Sunday, March 31st (I apologize for blogging on it a week late).
Most People Don’t Understand God’s Love
You know, most people don’t understand God’s love and to the extent that they do, they haven’t internalized it. As such, they don’t live it. They can’t comprehend its meaning, nor what it does for them. Most people end up chasing the things the world tells them will make them happy (while never actually being truly happy) instead of saying “yes” to our Lord, living their God-given purpose, maximizing their gifts, and understanding that we’re all made for greatness.
None of the above is possible without first understanding God’s unconditional love….true for me and true for you.
I love the Parable of the Prodigal Son because we can all see ourselves in the story. Chasing what he thought was going to make him happy (we do the same thing), the younger son asked for all of his inheritance and ventured out after his form of fun, glory, and success. I refer to them as the 4 Ps, Prominence, Possessions, Pleasure, and People (using them, not authentic relationship).
We All Experience Tragedy
He then experienced his form of tragedy…not being able to support himself, nor put food on the table. Have you experienced tragedy yet in your life? If not, you will (I guarantee it…we all do). For you, it might not be eating with the pigs, although it could still be personal like the death of a loved one, divorce, addiction, or financial loss. It could be something global as well, like war, terrorism, or a natural disaster.
There is a positive aspect to tragedy. If we allow it, it brings us closer to God, a God like the father in the Parable who is always eagerly waiting on us, no matter what we have done. When the son is approaching from afar, having at one time abandoned his father, the father runs to him (pray on that…God is running towards us (you), with open arms) and in absolute exuberance says, “this son of mine was dead and is now alive; he was lost and is found”.
God is Always There for Us
The above paragraph really expresses the unconditional love of God. We all sin, most of us pretty badly, but no matter what we do God is always looking to welcome us back to Him with open arms. Remember, God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. It’s true today just like it was when Jesus shared the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke.
The last point I want to make is the contrast between the younger and older brothers, the latter of whom believed that his reward was earned by his behavior. Given the incredible brokenness experienced by the younger, he desperately wanted (and needed) to be in relationship with his father. Likewise, it is “relationship” that God invites us into, based on His unconditional love.
We have a great, glorious God, who loves us unconditionally. We just need to be open to His love. It’s amazing what then can happen.
As always, feel free to reach out to me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!