Today's Gospel reading, the story of "The Prodigal Son", is the inspiration Pope Francis is using for The Year of Mercy. The focus is on the Mercy that the father, representing God, shows his son even after he squandered away his inheritance. In the story, the father opens his arms, opens the doors of his home, and hosts a banquet to welcome his son home.
This is my fight song.
Take back my life song.
Prove I'm alright song.
My power's turned on.
Starting right now I'll be strong.
I'll play my fight song.
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me.
I wonder if this is the tune the younger son was singing in his head as he went back home, ready to take back his life after making so many mistakes and getting ready for the most assured disapproval of his family. Or, is it the same merging of melodies that "The Piano Guys" artfully put together as they juxtapose "Fight Song" and "Amazing Grace," that runs through the son's head:
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come,
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
This is my fight song. Take back my life song... and grace will lead me home.
Hasn't this been a theme song for each of us at some point? We know we took a step in the right direction, but grace carried us the long distance down the road to the open doors and welcoming, merciful arms of God.
Maybe it was a direct experience of being welcomed by God but, more likely, it was a friend, a family member, religious leader, or professor who stood in for God as the welcoming, forgiving presence. In this Year of Mercy, may we each be open to offering and receiving mercy.
May our fight song, one of grace, lead us to God.
May we be willing to knock at the doors of mercy.
May we be received into God's home.
May we turn and open the doors for someone else who wants to join the banquet of God's love.
Sister Jennifer Schaaf, O.P.