Weekly Missionary Reflection
4th Week of Lent, 27 March 2022
Jos. 5:9a,10-12; Ps. 34:2-3,4-5,6-7; 2Cor. 5:17-21; Luk. 15:1-3,11-32
A story about two sons. Both turned away: the younger son traveled to a distant country, while the elder son went to the field. Only the father stayed, waiting for his children to come home! He would run out to embrace each of them. He let both of the sons speak first, but the final words would always depend on his judgment!
The younger son took his future inheritance and decided to leave his father’s home. His father and elder brother stayed silent. We don’t need to judge him too early either. Leaving home and homeland means surrendering the safety and protection of the family, relatives, and neighbors. That’s what happened eventually: he suffered, was humiliated, and starved in a foreign land. This miserable condition made him introspect and “come to his senses” and decided to return home. Why? Because he was hungry. That’s why he would like to be his father’s worker at home because there was an “abundance of food” (v. 17). It is definitely the main reason. It’s better to become a slave full of food, rather than a starving free son. In order to get his father’s mercy, he planned a religious wording: “I have sinned against heaven and before you”. So he returned home with calculation! Economy wrapped with religion is always the best-selling package from the past till now!
The father did not care for his son’s motivation and calculation. The prodigal son was welcomed with extravagant love. The prodigal was responded with a big party. The job seeker was reinstated as a son. Before his son arrived and spoke a word, his father had sent a clear sign: love! Before his son reached home, he had first run to meet the son, embrace and kiss him. Father’s love is a love without calculation. Father’s love came before the son’s apology. The son’s word of gratitude was not even heard. That is the main message of this story. It is not a coincidence that this story is called “a mini Gospel”: good news about Father’s abundant and unconditional love. The Father is always waiting for us to return, no matter how many times we turn and run away!
The elder son said: “for all these years I serve you …” He was a hardworking, loyal and obedient son: “I never disobeyed your command”. He was calculating with his father: achievement should be appraised. I am obedient and loyal, so I deserve a big party. The younger brother had wasted his father’s money, he should be punished and given a lesson. The elder son had a slave mentality: I work, I get paid! Similar to his younger brother. The younger son returned back and would like to reinstate the relationship by applying for a job from his father, the elder son maintained the relationship by continuing “to serve”. Both had the same wrong thought of the father’s love!
The word of Father should be the final word. Even though the elder son called him “you”, the father called him “my son”. He was the father who loved and shared all his property (v. 31). The elder son called his brother “your son”, but the father called the younger son “your brother”. Enmity is changed with brotherhood. He was invited to celebrate and take part in his father’s joy as he had found his missing son. Could the elder son be convinced and join the celebration with his father, or would he stay outside and rejected the peace? The writer leaves this question to the audience to answer.
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:
For Universal Churches: Facing the challenge of bioethics
We pray for the Christians who face the new challenge of bioethics; may they keep on defending the dignity of all humanity with prayer and action.
For Indonesian Churches intention: Political devotion
May in this democratic world all political elites and government use their authority to serve and organize the society, instead of dominating them.