Giving and receiving forgiveness is at the heart of what it means to be a gospel people, or members of the family of God. In one of my favorite books “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, Henri Nouwen helps us imagine ourselves not only as the younger son and the older son in the parable, but as the father who offers forgiveness to others. He writes, “I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal, and offer a festive meal must become my own.”
At various points of our life journey we know the forgiveness of God, for our own failures as the younger son, and our unforgiving jealousy as the older son. After becoming aware of our own forgiveness and the loving acceptance of the Father, we must grow up in faith and become the bearers of this gift to others. This is not a call to the paid professionals, but to all of God’s children. Therefore, as we continue our Lenten journey, let us consider, as individuals (and as a parish) these important questions – 1. In what ways do you see this calling as the essence of your vocation?
2. How do you live it out in practical ways?
3. How does our community extend compassionate hands to others?