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Thursday, 04 April 2019 09:04

Are we ready to party with Father?

At half of our Lenten road, the liturgy reminds us that in the Easter perspective the partying is part and parcel of our daily living however tiring is a journey: “Exult, exult … all you who were mourning …!” (Is 66:10). But in the Merciful Father’s parable he’s the one who parties, trying his best to involve both sons in the joyful feast, to make them feel at home. Sharing his love he makes them sons and enables them to recognize each other brother.

The younger son, after squandering his inheritance in a distant country (Lk 15:13), feeling in dire need just “came to his senses” (v. 17) and in deciding to go back to his Father he just wanted to be treated as a hired worker: he was unaware of the boundless creativity of that love which surpasses the distance (v. 20). The son’s identity is given back to him in a gratuitous super-abundant way. Putting the ring to his finger (v. 22) the Father entrusts to his hands the entire estate, not only the portion the younger boy wanted to keep all for himself, when he pretended that the Father should divide his estate among his children (v. 12). Nevertheless, it’s the Father who reintegrates the property and establishes the family ties, reminding that everything he has belongs to both sons too (v. 31). From the Book of Genesis we read that creation is entrusted to men and women, but never as today we can feel our co-responsibility in the management of the ecosystem.

While governments are urged by teenage environmentalists and scientists suggest solutions, the Creator’s commitment is encouraging: “Lo, I am about to create new heaven and a new earth. The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people” (Is 65:17-19). The linchpin of the feast then is the new creation realized in the Easter Mystery, to which Lent makes us go; the expectation of what God was going to create is in the question of those waiting for the coming of Jesus for his saving Easter: “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” (Jn 11:56).

Then the feast is of the Father who shares it with both sons. He doesn’t rejoice without them, but makes them sons through Jesus, the only Son of God: He is the One who involves us in the communion with his Father by teaching us to pray the Our Father.

But in the Luke’s parable not only the younger son should transform himself from servant to son: even the older one never felt himself more than a good servant on credit to his father for he’s a hard working-man : yet the father never gave him even a young goat (let alone the fattened calf!) to feast on with his friends (v. 29)…
What the elder son regretted was that he missed a party: but in his mind that was not the party of the Father (because could be there even unworthy persons), it had to be an exclusive one, just for some hypothetical friends of a workaholic and resentful young man. Indeed he was unable to feel his own the Father’s estate and to work joyfully to increase that joy.

The feast for the son coming back home is a development in the Lukes’ Gospel (ch. 15) of the feast for the lost sheep and for the lost coin and the occasion of the three parables is offered to Jesus by the coming of some publicans and sinners to hear him (v. 1). It’s a kind of converts which makes a doubt, at the end of the evangelical chapter: the one who is out of the feast is the son hard working in the fields of his Father, but the son knew him too little; namely, he didn’t know his Father from the heart.
Published in IN DIALOGUE

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About Us

Union “St. Catherine of Siena” of School Missionaries is a Dominican Religious Congregation.
We are called to accompany our contemporaries along their path with study and prayer and to seek along with them Gospel’s answers to the questions of our complex, multicultural society.
We want to live therefore coherently a Christianity of frontiers and be yeast and salt of the least visibility yet cause to leaven and give flavor.  
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