At choir practice before Mass tonight, the alleluia cantor asked what the Gospel reading was–to better select which verse. I mentioned the parable of the Two Sons. Someone else chimed in with wasting all that money on prostitutes. “The Prodigal Son! I love that story!” said one person.
I held my tongue. For us churchgoers, the story is as much about the disapproving elder brother who chastises his father for treating “that son of yours” with mercy.
What is the danger, then? That we presume ourselves of being just, and judging others. We even judge God, because we think that we should castigate sinners and condemn them to death instead of forgiving. Then we risk remaining outside the Father’s house! Like that older brother of the parable, who instead of being happy that his brother returned, was angered with his father who welcomed and celebrated him. If in our heart there isn’t mercy, the joy of forgiving, we are not in communion with God, even if we observe all the precepts, because it’s love that saves us, not the bare practice of precepts. It’s the love for God and neighbor that gives completion to all the commandments. And this is the love of God, his joy: forgiveness. It awaits us always! Maybe each of us has something we carry around in our heart: “But I did this, I did that….” – He waits for you! He’s a father: he always waits for you!
Anybody for “Who am I to judge”?