The Father's Heart: A Weekly Reflection

Fr. Mike Boutin

There once was a man who had two sons.... (Luke 15:11-32)

Watch this Youtube take on the Prodigal Son... just have your tissues ready!

So which son are you, anyway?

Maybe you're the eldest:

"I really do hate what a spoiled brat he is... being the youngest, he always gets his way.  When he was a kid, he stayed up later than I could when I was his age; he had fewer chores, got easier disciplines, and bigger allowances.  He got a car as soon as he got his license, and he got away with so much more than I ever could.

"I was always the ‘good son':  I got good grades, never gave my parents any trouble, did what they asked me to, and for what?  I had to buy my own car, worked twice as hard around the house, had a job by the time I was 15 and was bringing home my paycheck to help out. Now he just up and runs away with half of my father's money... good riddance...."

It's hard being perfect all the time, isn't? And feeling like no one ever appreciates how much you do, how hard you try?  Your parents never noticed, your siblings never cared... Now you spend your life caring for everyone else... and for what? Good riddance indeed... it's not so bad being perfect... and alone.

Or maybe you're the "younger" brother:

"I'm so tired of trying to live up to my big brother's standards. I don't know how he does it all, but he does. Well, he lets everyone know he does, but he still does it. My parents always loved him more... I know that.  They didn't like me... didn't like my friends... didn't like my music, or my hair, or my clothes. I'm tired of trying. It's just easier to get away, to treat them like they're dead to me. I'll just get away, forget about my past, and make a new life for myself. I'll party till the 12th of never...."

Except the 12th of never comes... and life goes on, and we grow up and realize we can never run away from the past or from the hurt.... So we turn around and start to come home, ready to make our peace with the brokenness inside and outside...

If you're the perfect child... or if you're the broken one... or, if you're really honest, most days, a hybrid of both sons... the Father is still waiting for you to come home... waiting for you day and night... watching the horizon for a hint of your heavy shoulders weighed down with grief and pain, waiting to replace that yoke with his yoke, which is easy to carry....

The Father is waiting to throw you a party... to put a ring on your finger... to set the Banquet Table before you....

The Father is waiting for you... to embrace you, to kiss you, to love you unconditionally... without having to be perfect...

But you have to make up your mind, change your heart, and head Home....

Now pray....


Father Mike Boutin is the co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, MA, and travels widely, leading pilgrimages throughout the world to various Catholic religious sites. He is a frequent speaker on liturgy, music, spirituality, and pastoral ministry.

3/16/2010 4:00:00 AM
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