the true test
"The son grew angry at this." —Luke 15:28
Unlike his father, the older son wasn't out looking for his brother to return. The older son was, in a sense, biding his time, serving his father but without much of a relationship with him despite the father's love for him. The younger son asked for his inheritance, showing so much disdain for his father that he essentially told him to his face that he was more valuable to him dead than alive. The older son showed that he was not that much different than his brother; he considered working for his father as slavery and was more concerned with what he could get from his father than with his relationship with him (Lk 15:29).
God is "the Tester of our hearts" (1 Thes 2:4). Loving those who hurt us (Lk 6:27), and forgiving them from our heart (Mt 18:35) is the true test of a child of the heavenly Father (Mt 5:45). Are we willing to forgive like the father in today's Gospel reading? Or are we content for these people to simply get out of our lives and stay out?
Jesus calls us to be made perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Thus, He calls us to love and forgive our enemies — those who hurt us or who have hurt our loved ones.
The older brother looked pretty good — until it was time to forgive someone who had hurt him. Then all his anger bubbled to the surface. Are we willing to receive the grace to forgive and love those who hurt us?
Prayer: Father, I need to forgive but I cannot without Your grace. Fill me with Your Spirit and help me decide to forgive, before the sun sets tonight, all those who have hurt me (Eph 4:26-27).
Promise: "You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins." Mi 7:19
Praise: St. Toribio baptized and confirmed nearly a million Peruvians in his twenty-five years of ministry there.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 24, 2018
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