Crossroad and resurrection

The father of the prodigal son

During a Lenten retreat, we were asked to reflect on the feelings and role of the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Though I had frequently thought about the parable over the years, I had not given the father much attention other than to consider him a symbol for God. Our retreat leader, however, asked us to think of the father as a real parent. We discussed parental roles, parents who cannot let their children go, parents who are overly critical, parents who are not available when their children need them. Our leader pointed out that the father in the parable had given his son the freedom to take chances, risk failure and push limits, not because he was indifferent to his child, but because he had a deep and abiding love for him. The father was able to see his returning son when "he was still a long way off" because the father had been continually watching for him.


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