Blog & Pastor Letters

The Kindness of a Father

03-27-2022Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Imagine your son takes your precious items in the house and sell them without your knowledge. It could be your 2022 Ferrari FF model or your jewelry worth a fortune. You bought your Ferrari as a gift to yourself after retirement after thirty-five years of meritorious service to your nation. This car means so much to you because you enjoy driving around town and you feel cool among your friends.

Suddenly, thirty-five years of service is vanquished by no other than your beloved son. What will you do with your son? Those jewelries you wear to every occasion that make you stand out are gone; given to you by your mom as priceless family possessions. Now, they are gone with the wind. And the culprit is your beloved son. But you don’t even know where he is or what has happened to him. Is he okay you keep asking yourself? He ends up in Las Vegas gambling with your money and enjoys himself in a life of drinking and extravagance. You declare him missing and two weeks after, the police call you that your son has been found and is under their custody. What can you possibly do? The pain is better imagined than talked about.

Jesus taught forgiveness and showing mercy to sinners and tax collectors. These people were the outcasts of his day. Nobody wanted to associate themselves with these categories of people. They acted with the Roman authorities in collecting high taxes and punishing the Jews for any minor offenses. But Jesus began to associate with them to offer them a new leaf in their lives. He wanted to show them the difference between neglect and love.

He told the parable in today’s gospel from Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 to impress it upon his listeners that repentance leads to forgiveness, and forgiveness leads to celebration. In the parable, the father celebrated for his son, “He was lost, and he has been found.” A sinner must be happy when the many sins he has have been forgiven.

The opportunities given to us by God are innumerable. God calls us to a new life, a new chapter that will benefit us and our future status. God is not happy with the death of a sinner, but he wants the sinner to convert and return to a life of grace. When all things fail in your life, you should relocate to your parent’s house to find some peace, support, and refreshment. When you remain in a foreign land and nothing is working, you have to think of an option. No option can be better than returning to your father’s house to plan your life again.

St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 -21, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father, and we become new creation when we approach the throne of God for forgiveness of our numerous offenses against God. “Be reconciled to God”, Paul tells us so that we become the righteous persons before God. The Father does not despite us on our account of our sins. He loves us despite our sins and offers us a new option: to return to His open arms.

When you get that call from the police that your son is found and you cannot manage the anger, you feel life is against you. Although the police with deal with the case in their own way, you need to adjust yourself to the situation. It might seem impossible to forgive your son, but God wants you to reconsider forgiveness. The Psalmist says it in a better way, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” We need to show mercy to the repentant sinner. “If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord who will survive?” All of us have fallen short of God’s grace and need His redemption.

In the first reading from Joshua 5:9a, 10-12, the Israelites ate of the produce of the land given to them by God. When the Passover was over, they no longer ate manna. God prepared a new table for them in the Promised Land; they were to enter a land flowing with milk and honey. Forgiveness is the first step to finding relief in a confused situation. Pope John XXIII said, “Sin has no rights, but the sinner has rights to live again.” When we forgive those who wrong us, we give them an opportunity to experience the power of love that we express towards them. God loves us and forgives us our every offense when we come to him in repentance.

The Lenten period gives us time to reflect about showing mercy to those who wronged us in the past. There are those who can say to you, “With these things you still forgive your son?” or “If I am the one, I would never forgive him for taking way my joy.” This represents the older son in the parable of Jesus who accused the father, he “became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out to plead with him... your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

A father who shows mercy to his son is doing so because he loves him to and teaches him mercy as a virtue not as a weapon of punishment. A 2012 Ferrari FF is good, and the jewelries you pile are nice, but what you do next to your son shows how you feel about him. Let’s try to show mercy so that we can receive mercy from God at this period of Lent. “The measure you give is the measure you receive.” New things more precious await you after that disappointment.

Keep praying!