Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Prodigal Son...who just won't leave for the desolate place

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of two sons; one younger and one older. The younger son asks for his share of the inheritance, basically asking for the Father to die and give him what he deserves. He squanders the money on fast living and ends up slopping hogs. The Son comes to realize the consequences of his immoral life and returns, recalcitrant, to his father. The father welcomes him with open arms and restores the son to his place in the family.

The church is always filled with prodigal daughters and sons. I am a prodigal son. I sin and I return, sorrowful, to a Father who merely asks that I forgive those who have sinned against me. I am not proud of the times when I am prodigal. I know it takes me away from the church. I use the sacrament of reconciliation to return and try to live as a part of the family of God.

The problem is that there are an awful lot of Catholics who have asked for their share of the Father's inheritance so that they can go live in the basement whining that the Father won't endorse their profligate lifestyle. They are the lost sheep who won't get lost. There's a part of me that agrees with those who will say that, if they remain connected, they have a chance at conversion, a chance at appreciating all that the Father has done for them. And I know that, as a prodigal son, no one comes in and forces me to leave. But, if you don't agree with almost anything that the church teaches and just sit there hating everything, why not go off and live the fast life you want to live? We'll still be here when you want forgiveness and come to your senses. Just don't try and take us with you into the life of dissolution you deem "moral."