Catholic Deocese of Takamatsu "Weekly message "A lecture or an input for the retreat during the Lent English version"
Who is the Younger Brother?
AUGUSTINE LEO INAGE OP.
iThe sermon for The Parable of the Prodigal Sonj
Todayfs gospel - The Parable of the Prodigal Son - is very long and very famous.
You already know this story very well. So let me ask you: What was the problem with the younger brother? What was his sin?
He squandered his money, but this was secondary. He spent money for women, also secondary. He did not know his father. This was the problem.
He lived with his father, but he could not recognize him. If he only had known his Father well, he would never have left home.
What did he think? gMy father is useless to me. This home is useless to me. This town is useless. I must go to the big city so that I can become successful.h
How about you? Do you think like this? gMy congregation is useless for me. My superior is useless for me.h gThis world is dirty, so secular, this world is so useless to me.h
Nevertheless, the younger brother took a journey and this was a repentance journey for him. Through this journey, he found his father. Before, he did not know his father even if he lived with him. But, after his journey, he came to know his father and recognize him. From then on he could live together with his father.
He got a father. He found a father. And not only this, he now knew himself and others, and lived together with others. He got others.
Brothers and sisters, this is repentance, this is salvation, and this is kingdom of God.
Do you know God personally? Can you recognize others, your neighbors?
Do you know yourself? Are you living together with others?
This younger brother, gthe prodigal son,h knows his father. But the elder brother does not know his father even if he lives with him. He never calls his younger brother gMY brother.h He calls him gthis son of YOURS,h not gmine,h but gyours.h He cannot understand his fatherfs mind, his fatherfs joy. Even if he obeyed his fatherfs orders. He follows orders, rules, and laws, but he never recognizes his father.
How about you? How about our religious life? How about our Christian life?
Are you thinking like this: gI keep the constitution of my congregation. I always obey my superior. I can do this, I can do that. I have done this and that. I have results. At least I am better than this or that person. So peace be with me!h
If our life is like this, what kind of obedience, what kind of religious life, Christian life, is it?
gWeh are the elder brother. Similarly, gweh are the younger brother. So we need repentance, like the younger brother, to meet our father, to meet ourselves, and to meet others.
Our religious life, Christian life, is a journey to repentance.
Our whole life must be a journey of repentance (ecclesia semper reformanda=the Church always in need of reform).
And now I have a question. Who is holier: the elder brother or the younger brother? We can never judge. However, we can say that the younger brother can bear witness to the fatherfs love, but the elder brotherc
If God touches something, it becomes holy. In fact, the younger sonfs journey was shameful, terrible and heavy. But God touched it, so his journey became holy. Why?
--- Because from then on, he could proclaim the fatherfs love to others.
Brothers and sisters, this is the consecration. If Godfs love touches us, everything becomes holy, even our faults. Look up to the cross! The cross is the symbol of sin, it is shameful and terrible. But Jesus touched it, and so it became holy. And you are better than the cross. It is also our symbol. That is why we are wearing the cross.
I ask you one more question. In real meaning, who is the younger brother?
Of course, we are the younger brother, but in real meaning, this person is Jesus. Jesus departed from his Fatherfs home, died and returned to his Fatherfs home for us. Jesus took this journey; therefore, we can also take the journey, a repentance journey.
Through Jesusf journey, everything was consecrated, like the younger son. To see this reality, to meet his reality, we need faith, we need experience of repentance, like the younger son.
Jesus continues this journey in us. Jesus is walking through us, with us, in us.
Jesus is a walking-journey man, so we should be walking all the time.
Let us continue our journey with Jesus to meet God the Father, to meet ourselves, to meet others.
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