Homily – Fr. Seamus – 3/7/20 “Prodigal Son”


This parable is a high point in the revelation of the tenderness and mercy of God … it is a parable Jesus told to those who complained, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” It’s a parable that assumes its full meaning in the context of Lent. All the works of Lent have only one motive and one goal: the fatherly love in God’s heart and our love of our neighbor.

We can’t help noticing, that the father in Jesus’ parable … does nothing by way of looking for his son. Nothing!

It reminds us of those powerful words in one of St Augustine’s sermons:

“God created us without us; but he will not save us without us.” (CC 1848) Our salvation is up to us. We must take the initiative. We must cry out from the depths of our heart, ” Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.”

What’s stopping us?

God knows that we have free will; that nothing can stop us from returning to Him. Like the father in Jesus’s parable, He will always welcome us with open arms, and kiss us tenderly … we are – and always will be, his children.

As for the other son? Don’t be like him. On our part, and our love of neighbor, nothing should gladden us more than the return of our brothers and sisters from “far away.” Whatever they may have done, whatever the reason for their “conversion,” “Here I am, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father” – we must always be merciful, we must always welcome them without hesitation. Any comparison we make between our brothers’ and sisters’ behavior and our own would be complaining against God, who takes pleasure in forgiving sins. He’s telling us, “We must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he who was lost has been found.” Did the other son eventually enter the house and give his brother a warm welcome home hug?