In a country that is bitterly divided, at a time when hatred seems to be winning and hostility works against reconciliation, we encounter Christ’s parable of the Prodigal Son.
Here we find a loving father ready to embrace his lost child. Let us be mindful of God’s embrace for all of God’s creation and created beings.
In Paul’s understanding of the work of God through Christ, we can also understand the full meaning of this superb story. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
In the image Jesus paints of his Father, we begin to see this new creation. The father of the Prodigal Son does not ask, “What have you done to bring yourself to this condition?” He doesn’t reprimand and say, “I warned you that this would happen to you!” No, he asks nothing of the past because the “old has passed away.” What comforting words these are!
Yet, reconciliation doesn’t stop there. Paul makes it abundantly clear that now we receive a new gift: “the ministry of reconciliation.” We cannot remain enclosed in God’s loving embrace without becoming “ambassadors of reconciliation.”
The ministry of reconciliation — spreading the good news of God’s new creation — belongs to us. This may be daunting, but it is there. We cannot escape it. We must continue to remember that, in this new creation, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus,” as Paul declares.