Jesuit Father Myles Sheehan offers his reflections on the parable of the prodigal son in the fourth Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits. He explains that home is a place “where we are fully known, fully accepted and welcomed not for what we’ve done, good or bad, but simply loved as we are.”
Fr. Sheehan, provincial of the New England Province, says the story of the prodigal son and his older brother and father challenges us with “our deepest image of finding a home in Christ and accepting our place.”
During a retreat years ago, Fr. Sheehan was asked to imagine himself in the story of the prodigal son, but he became frustrated when he could not identify with the son’s wild actions and recklessness.
“I was the older brother: hardworking, dutiful and totally resentful that my strict religious behavior was not bringing me the joy and fun that I saw in others who did ‘bad’ things,” he said.
Fr. Sheehan realized that for him, the parable is about the father’s invitation to the older son to come home and receive his father’s acceptance, healing and forgiveness. For Fr. Sheehan, the invitation is a call to open his heart and find his home in God.
“I am called to go to the father’s house – not in fear, not with a tight set of good behaviors, but with an open and loving heart,” Fr. Sheehan says.
Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.