Fourth Sunday in Lent
Reconciliation and the Prodigal Son
Attitudes reflect our beliefs, our emotional evaluation, and our behaviour towards a person, idea or object. Once we form them, they are almost set in stone, forming biases impossible to overcome. For example, most Americans – even after so many fatal shootings, still seem to oppose gun control. They simply believe that they have the right to guns come what may?
Sometimes, however, our attitudes become unbearable. And the only way to overcome the dissonance created by those attitudes and our behaviours is to change our attitude. For the prodigal son it was to finally admit that he was wrong. It’s a release to finally own up to and accept the truth.
In the story of the prodigal son, it seems that the son’s initial attitude towards his fathers’ property was that it was within his right to take for himself. His attitude was that the father’s property was rightfully his due. We all know he was wrong, but that was his attitude towards his father and his father’s property.
Jesus uses this parable against the Pharisees and Scribes who thought they had first dibs on religion. So, are we like them? I mean of course we are told this Gospel so we identify ourselves in the story as the prodigal son/daughter. We don’t have a right to heaven, we can’t presume salvation is ours for the taking even as Christians.
If this is our attitude then we too must come to our senses and seek forgiveness. The irony is that the true riches we seek come only from our relationships, and not from what we can take from them.
So perhaps we need a change of attitude in our relationship with God professing “I am a sinner. I no longer deserve to be called your son/daughter!” And of course the richness of God’s mercy will overwhelm us as is God’s generosity.
Don’t let your attitudes prevent you from seeing the truth if your life is not at rights with God. Living with erroneous attitudes can be a heavy burden which we don’t have to carry. Unburdening ourselves is as simple as coming to our senses and seeking reconciliation with God – just as the prodigal son sought reconciliation with his God and with his father.