Have you read the story of the prodigal son recently? I keep thinking of it as I contemplate the Popes new article that was published last week. It is causing quite a stir in the Catholic world, and outside of it as well. Lots of faithful Catholics are indignant that the Holy Father said we should focus on the gospel message before all else and are apologizing for him everywhere, liberals are certain he has just changed every rule in the church and erased thousands of years of history to conform to their desires.
If you read the story of the prodigal son, you might be inclined to think the father had one awful son, and one pretty good son. But if you look a little closer you might find that the father really had two lost sons. One who left his house and made it obvious, and another who got lost within the very walls of his father's house.
Lost is lost.
Neither of the sons knew who their father really was, and they certainly couldn't get their head around his merciful heart.
One felt unworthy to be called his son.
The other felt entitled.
Both got it wrong.
But the story is about the father, and his relentless desire to have them both in his home. Try not to get distracted by which brother is better off, remember instead that they are both lost. Watch the father and how he treats them both; first lets take the younger brother:
"And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion and running to him fell upon his neck and kissed him. " (Luke 15:20)
And now the 'faithful' older brother hears this news and won't even go within his fathers house! But the father once again acts:
"His father therefore coming out began to entreat him."
( Luke 15:28)
The story is about the father with two lost sons. Sometimes we can fall in serous sin, intentionally or not, and come marching back home simply because we have no other place to go and we feel really, really, desperate. That is one kind of lost.
And sometimes we can sit in church pews for so long praying our rosary and checking off our good deeds, that we are righteous enough to think we know better than the Pope, and demand of him to give us a kid goat for our years of service. That is another kind of lost.
I'm pretty certain that Pope Francis doesn't care which kind of lost you are, he just wants you to come home. And that is really, really great. Because I am all kinds of lost. And I'm not afraid to admit it.
I want to go home.
I need a father.
How about you?