Pope reflects on parable of prodigal son
May 11, 2016
Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 11 general audience to the parable of the prodigal son.
“Jesus wishes to teach us that we are children of God not because of any merits of our own but because of the infinite love of our heavenly Father,” Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks. “How often do we need to be reminded of God’s unchanging love and ready forgiveness, lest we lose heart when we ourselves or our dear ones go astray!”
“The parable speaks not only of the prodigal son, but also of his older brother, who must also learn to accept the father’s mercy, which transcends both reward and punishment,” the Pope continued. “By calling for a feast of thanksgiving, the father is really asking each son to share his joy by recognizing the other as a brother.”
The Pope added:
The parable ends without our knowing how the older brother responds to this invitation. Jesus in effect is challenging each of us to think about how we respond to God’s invitation, to open our hearts to his reconciling love and to become “merciful like the Father.”