This week’s reflection is provided by Fr Trevor Trotter
(Joshua 5:9-12, 2 Cor 5:17-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)
Most of you have a son. “What is it like to have a son?” I guess there are many answers to that question. I can imagine that when he was first born you thought he was wonderful and beautiful, why not? Then at school he scores a try on the football field and you would be delighted. You would share his own sense of delight and achievement. Then there are the teenage years, you have hopes and dreams for him. Maybe you can see he is struggling to work things out for himself and perhaps not making such a good job of it. However you feel such love for him despite all the frustrations involved in being his father or mother.
The thing is that the way you feel about your son is much the same as God, our Father, feels about us. He loves us. He is concerned for us. He is anxious about what we might do. He struggles with us as we struggle with life. He is a true Father. How difficult is it for us to know this deep in our hearts, deep in our bones. But that is what Jesus is inviting us to do today. He is inviting us to use our human experience of being a parent to help us to come to a deep knowledge of God’s love for each of us.
I don’t have a son but I can imagine that your feeling for your sons would be shared by the man in today’s Gospel – the father of the Prodigal Son. Then how would you feel if your son came to you and, not being able to wait until you died, he asked you for his inheritance.
How devastated you would feel! That your son would be like that! That he turns out to be that sort of person would really break your heart. It certainly broke the heart of the father in the Gospel. Every day he is keeping an eye out until his son returns. Eventually he does and then the father is so delighted he kills the best animal and has a great feast. The love of the father never ceased. The love of our God, our Father, never ceases. Even if we go off to foreign countries and waste all that God has given us he still keeps looking for us to return. He is not interested in what we have done or not done. He loves us and wants to embrace us and celebrate with us.
This story of the Prodigal Son is such a powerful story and has been told and retold over the centuries. We are very familiar with the details but each time we hear it we are invited to enter into it. Today we are invited to move more deeply into knowing the love of our God, his deep abiding love. And for this, let us give thanks.
Fr Trevor Trotter
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ indwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with your presence, so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen