There are four groups of ‘actors’ in today’s Story – the suffering son, the compassionate father, the self-evaluative disciples, and Christ. One theme for reflection is Christ’s question, “How long will I endure you?” That question can apply to many aspects of our lives. For example, how long do we endure those with whom we disagree?; those whom we work with or are responsible for in some manner (parent, caregiver) and are frustrated with some of their behaviors?; and, so forth. Do we demonstrate Christ’s patience of enduring? And, at that moment, do we do what Christ did, i.e., do the appropriate problem-solving and compassionately meet others’ needs?
A second theme to reflect on is the self-evaluative behavior of the disciples. There is a strong lesson here for all in the church, laity, women religious, and clergy. Are we self-evaluating our lives as disciples?
A third theme is the compassion and the tenacity of the father to care for a son who had suffered much. He was a compassionate advocate for his biological son. The conference I just participated in calls us forth to be the same compassionate advocates for all in the global family, not just biological families.
Which ‘actor’ do you identify with in this story? Christ who endured and compassionately met someone’s need? The disciples who self-evaluated? (One of the conference attendees called us daily to a self-evaluation of how well we radically live the Gospel.) The tenacious father? (Symbolic of all who show compassion and persistently advocate for those who suffer.) Or, the son who suffers and needs compassion and advocacy? Or, are you all four?
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