TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Also Read: Mass Readings for 11 September 2022 Mass Reading Reflection for 11 September 2022
Gospel: Luke 15: 1-32
Today, for our reflection we have arguably the best of all stories ever told, the story of the prodigal son. Not only those who appear in the story but also those who do not appear in the story make the story complete; even their absence tells us a story. It is the story of a household with no women. The mother, a sister, a sister-in-law, an elderly relative, or even a little girl from nowhere is missing in the story. Try to understand the story of their absence. A strong woman character in the story would not have made the story possible.
A strong and loving mother could not have let her son go astray. The event of the younger son leaving the house was not the result of an overnight decision. It was the result of a long chain of events. His heart was out of the house long before his body followed his heart. A strong and sensitive mother would have felt it ahead of anyone else in the family. She would have held him closer to the family trying all her wits. The mother would have been a strong argument against leaving home. Probably his mother was dead when he was just an infant or a little boy.
Those boys who are not privileged to have a sister, deserve sympathy; they miss a lot in their lives. Elder or younger sisters do make lives complete, not only when one is young, but even when one is having a family of his own and the sister has her own family. A lot can happen with the mere presence of a sister in your life. The presence of his sister at home would have brought him back the very next day after leaving his house if at all he had left it.
The story does have room for an elder sister-in-law. She could have wielded some loving authority over him and prevented him from going astray.
Men and women complementing each other do not limit to the institution of marriage alone. Our lives and households are rendered deserts without such manifold healthy and sacred relations.
Even when men and women share the space together, there is the risk of alienating one another. There are many households giving little role to their women. They are little more than glorified cooks and servants, more so in the eastern cultures. More often than, they are belittled and mocked. Think of the gender jocks flying in society.
Let boys and men learn to respect and value the presence of women in their homes, lives, society, and the Church. Let girls and women learn to respect and value men equally. Jesus is welcoming us to that great future, by telling the story of the prodigal son with no woman character in the story.
Prodigal sons and prodigal daughters are not born but formed in homes where mutual respect, love, forgiveness, and care are absent. If the list seems long, make sure Jesus is at home with your family. Let the prodigal sons and daughters return to their homes. Also, let us take care that prodigal sons and daughters are not formed in our homes and in our churches anymore. Not all prodigal sons were as fortunate as the one in the story to come back to their senses and return home. Some of the repentant sons could not make it home again, because their parents or siblings were not as forgiving.
We are all blessed to have an ever-loving and forgiving Father in heaven. Unlike the elder brother of the story, we have an elder brother in Jesus Christ who willingly shed the last drop of his blood to bring us back to the Heavenly home. Let us appreciate the forgiving love of the Holy Trinity and stay closer.