March 18, 2017
'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
I always understood it the way it needed to be understood, just as raw as reality was.
Many people say losing a loved one is the worst suffering one can experience, and it is,
but suffering is inevitable yet necessary for each one of.
However when a loved one decides to get lost by choice, it can be worse than death itself.
Imagine the Father from today's Gospel seeing his son going away, getting lost into the world.
Not able to stop him, or change his heart to stay and be loved.
I saw someone leaving once too, someone I deeply loved.
He left when I was five or six, my father. He used to carry me on his shoulders, I felt powerful then, and the world seemed like a less scary place than what it was, than what it is, than what it will always be.
One day he left like the prodigal son, thus he became my prodigal father. I also waited for him for years to come back but he did not know the things he needed to know, so it took him more time to get lost before finding the way back.
I hated him at some point, and this was alright, we all have the same right to hate and for some of us it is necessary in order to know how to love. My anger was justified in the truth of the events, but not in the truth of the word of God. Thus I misunderstood this hate, it became stronger. I always said I did not need him, I always testified I was enough for me myself to survive alone, I didn't need a father. I was wrong. I needed him with all my heart, but how much he hurt me!
My point with all these, is not to tell a sad story, nor a persuasive statement on how bad I had it, because in fact there is so much joy in the abandonment I have experienced.
"Father why have you forsaken me" Jesus said on the cross before dying, when pain was the only thing keeping him alive. And this words kept me alive so many times also.
However as a man, less divine and more human I often come to the place where I know God will forgive my father if he repents. And this still gets me, it is hard to understand the mystery of redemption. After all the damage and brokenness he was responsible for in my life, one day my prodigal father may come back to his faith and say to God "I have sinned against heaven and against you" and immediately be given all the graces I have struggled to obtain and maybe more. Not fair.
We can become the "older brother" when we don't think outside of ourselves.
There is a difference between being a victim and a martyr. Victims face pain and this pain becomes their identity, victims cannot feel compassion for anybody but themselves. Martyrs on the other side testify to the truth, give witness of how pain is not the identity but the cross and offering with which they embrace life. I am not saying I am a martyr, because I sometimes struggle with being a victim in my own little world of prodigal fathers and wandering words. But I do want to make the point that it is really when you make someone feel unloved that you can destroy a person... How many times have I been the older brother? How many times have I rejected to be a martyr? How many times have I waited at the door for my father to come back to me, when my biggest desire should be for him to come back to the Almighty Father and be saved?
Brothers and sisters, we cannot make "Forgiveness" into a "Disney version" of what it really is with simple theories and advises. I don't know how to forgive perfectly, but I know how to be perfectly forgiven, because I often mess up and need to ask God to forgive me, and forgive me, and forgive me once more.
I cannot tell you how to forgive because forgiveness is an individual and unique experience for each one of us, because God loves us individually and uniquely... Only Jesus in his Gospel can individually and uniquely touch our hearts and teach us how to do this.
So let'ts pray for each other who walk this path together, that we may have the openness to receive the grace of his mercy, and rejoice when our prodigal brothers, fathers, sisters, uncles, etc return home and we can feast together because they were dead, but now have come back to life again.
Everything God created is ours, the sun, the moon, the stars.
Even when we sin he does not take these away from us.
Why do we want to take it away from others sometimes?
The sun is big enough, the moon is bright enough, the stars are countless (enough)
for the Father to let us walk away from the shine of these gifts and waste their shimmer.
We can walk as far, and hide in the darkest places of the earth and of our hearts,
but the sun, the moon, and the stars will still be there. And to me that is forgiveness,
knowing there is something that I do not possess, but that is bigger than myself
and I can show others and make them aware it is also theirs to claim and share with me.
St. Mother Teresa,
Pray for us!