How many times we have heard this story of the prodigal son? You probably would say, “Once is enough.” True, but this great story we really want to hear as many times as needed. Why? It would seem that confession is enough just for one time… But we all know we sin very often, so we need to confess as many times as needed.
As a matter of fact, today’s story is about confession. Open your heart and mind; open your soul to grasp the Word of God, and put it into practice — today.
Jesus began telling the Pharisees and Scribes about a man who has two sons. The younger one says to the father, “Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.” What do we see in this request? Give me! You got it, give it to me. I missed something in my life, so give it to me. (Isn’t it that way we pray? — “Give me that should come to me”. Friends, when we die, we will NOT have anything what we accumulate in this life. The ONLY thing that we will keep in this life and the everlasting life is God’s LOVE. Are we MINDFUL with this reality? This young man was NOT mindful with his reality to be in his Father’s HOME. He was a dreamer, thinking about TOMORROW, but not in the present. Many of us spend our life thinking about tomorrow and not being in this present time. “Here and now”: that is mindfulness means.
The son gets his belongings to a distance country. The “distance country” also means: Open space, empty space. Into a big emptiness. In other words, he wanders off into the big emptiness. The younger son started walking into this empty country; that is the point. When we think that we possess everything, we have NOTHING! It is feeling like NOTHINGNESS. Emptiness. When this young man spent everything, famine struck him. No food, no water, no life. We have all been there. When you are in that moment, in that stage of life… I could give you to many examples. When a Mother buries one of her sons or daughters… nothing feeds that woman; when you have lost your job, you lose your sense of life… you get into a existential problems. Nothing gives you anything. The trick of that moment is that you need to be fed. If you don’t keep your grace, you will be in the famine.
In desperation, he worked with pigs… he became a waiter for pigs. He is tending the swine. He goes as low as he could go… he hit bottom. He followed his addiction to “things” all the way until this point. When we hit the bottom of our life, we come to our senses. Hitting the bottom should wake us up. It is a great moment in our spiritual life… it is a wake-up call. I have been there…
So, the young man woke up… he woke up to what we call in the spiritual life, CONTRICTION: remorse, repentance, sorrow. It is CRUSHING… when we admit our sins… it is not a moment of depression, it is a moment of real liberation. I have sinned against heaven…
His heroic moment was “HE GETS UP”; he was assertive. There are a lot people who come to the realization that they are hitting the bottom, and they feel sorrow, remorse, they crush… But many of us, we take the feeling of victims… and, then we commit another sin, or we become involved in that or another addiction; then, we have no hope. “I am the worse person on earth; I do not deserve forgiveness.” That is the sin against the Holy Spirit. Which one? This one… when you think that there is no hope for you. Not forgiveness for you… and you do NOT act. Well, this young fellow, he got up… What is assertiveness? TO respect the needs, wants and rights of others, but at the same time, to respect your own needs, wants, and rights.
He went to his father. He was still far away from the father’s house; the father saw him… what does that mean? … The father was waiting and watching. Notice please: The father did not stop his son from getting away from his house; on the contrary, he let him go, to experience, by his own way, the emptiness. He might feel the effects of the emptiness. Lets him feel the effect of his sins. But he is watching, waiting for him to come back.
When he was still away off, he runs for him… That is God running to embrace us. Then the son says what he prepared… “I have sinned against heaven and against you.” What is that? That is CONFESSION. There is contrition, followed by confession, in our tradition. God does want to hear our speech, our confessions. “I know I have sinned; I want to tell you about it.” It is good for the soul to confess, so... everybody go to confession in this lent. It is good for your soul… Everybody should go to confession... the young person practices first, his own compassion; he feel Self-Compassion, which means to have love for himself, NOT a SELFISH love, but to believe and mean that he is the SON of the FATHER.
Two more weeks to be in Holy Week, let us be Mindful, Assertive and let us have love for ourselves. God Bless you.