Sunday of the Prodigal Son. (Personal reflection)
There are several sermon ideas one can pull out of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. One would be to examine how I have estranged myself from God by my actions, like the prodigal. A valuable endeavor, but not where I want to go today. Another would be to look at how unforgiveness hurts my relationship with the Father like the elder son. Again a valuable exercise but also not what I want to ruminate about today. Still one could meditate on how the Father went out to both of his sons rather than expecting them to come to him; again, good spiritual food — not today’s meditation. What I focused on this year as I read the hymns of Vespers and Matins is. . . . the wealth.. the wealth that was squandered. We were created in the Image and likeness of God to fellowship with Him in His Kingdom. The wealth we squander is the likeness of God in us. We squander it when we run away from fellowship with God. When I run from God, I squander the wealth of His likeness in foreign countries. I take His treasure, and my inheritance and treat it like trash. When I refuse to pray I starve myself of spiritual food. It is upon me to return to the Father and eat the spiritual banquet. Lent is soon upon us. An excellent time for that.
Jesus asks me a bizarre question: Do I want to be healed?
Do I want to be healed?
A very good question Jesus asks the Paralytic at the pool, “Do you want to be healed?”
I must admit that while most of me wants to be healed, there are parts of me that do not. Repentance is an on-going lifestyle. Great Lent is upon us. Perhaps with God’s grace those parts of me that do not want to be healed will become less.
Healing is what the Church is to be about. We are all in need of healing. We are all broken. Part of our problem is that we try so hard to keep up an appearance that we are “OK”. We are not OK. We are all suffering from insanity to one degree or another. God restores our mind to sanity. We have to let Him, and cooperate with Him.
This healing does not happen in isolation; it happens in COMMUNION with others, in COMMUNION with Christ (Communion – Koinonia has been translated by some as “fellowship”) and His Church. It requires humility, rigorous honesty. The Orthodox Church presents us with several icons of humility in preparation for Great Lent: Zacchaeus, the Publican, the Prodigal Son. While we assume that we are not in need of healing, God will not heal us. When we humble ourselves and own our brokenness, then God will work with us to transform our darkened NOUS (mind) into the mind of His anointed.
O Word, supreme in love, Who with the Father and the Spirit hast created all things visible and invisible in Thy wisdom past speech, grant in Thy compassion that we may spend the season of the joyful Fast in profound peace. Destroy the beguilement of bitter sin, granting us contrition, tears of healing and forgiveness of our trespasses, that fasting with a fervent spirit and undoubting soul, we may join the angels to sing the praises of Thy power.