Today’s readings remind us of God’s infinite mercy, His incredible forgiveness, and His desire to welcome us back into relationship with Him regardless of what we’ve done to offend Him.
The parable of the prodigal son, easily one of the most-recognized parables that Jesus offered, can be viewed through many lenses.
Consider the younger son, who has come back home with no expectation, simply recognizing that his choices led to life circumstances he now regrets. How often do we receive people through our doors at Catholic Charities who readily acknowledge they’ve made choices they regret?
Consider the father, who seemingly watches every day for his young son to return, and how he rushes out to meet his son on that wonderful day he returns.
Consider the older brother, angry at this injustice, believing that his brother deserves misery because of his disobedience. He suggests he is being treated unfairly because his brother is receiving forgiveness and a welcome.
As Catholic Charities’ staff and volunteers, we know the reality of someone seeking a change and praying that Catholic Charities will be able to help. We know the reality of those who become angry with us because we serve people who have created their own misery and should remain in it. We embrace the opportunity to welcome them ‘home’, to a safe place where the past is just that.
Our doors are open to all who seek us, and whether we can meet their material needs or not, we can and should embrace them with the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, welcoming them into our fold and doing all we can to show them the dignity and respect that is inherent to them as loving creations of our Father.
Deacon Gary Tester is President of Catholic Charities of Central Florida and a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Florida.