God's logic is that of mercy, it is not one for which "if you do good you are rewarded if you do bad you are punished." "Jesus reminds us that in if we dwell in the Father's house it is not to be recompensed, but because we have the dignity of children who are co-responsible". "The righteous, those who think they are right, are also in need of mercy."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Our condition as children of God is the fruit of the Father’s love for us, "it does not depend on our merits or actions, and so no one can take it away from us. No one, not even the devil, can deprive us of this dignity".
This was the lesson that Pope Francis highlighted today in the general audience today inspired by the parable of the prodigal son. The Pope stressed that the "logic" of God is that of mercy, it is not one for which "if you do good you are rewarded if you do bad you are punished."
Francis focused his address to the 25 thousand people present in St Peter's Square on the figure of the father who is not "offended and resentful," but who cares only that his son" returns to him safe and sound." "The welcome of the returning son is movingly described:" When he was still far off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him". How much tenderness; He saw him from afar: What does this mean? That the father continually climbed on the roof to watch the road and see if his son was coming... He was waiting, the son had done everything, but his father was waiting for him. What a wonderful thing, the father’s tenderness is".
"The father's mercy is overflowing, unconditional, and manifests itself even before the child speaks. Of course, the child knows he was wrong and recognizes it: "... treat me like one of your hired servants" (v. 19). But these words dissolve in front of the father's forgiveness. His father’s embrace and kiss make him understand that he has always been considered as his child, in spite of everything. He is his child! Jesus’ lesson is important: our condition as children of God is the fruit of the love in the Father’s heart; it does not depend on our merits or our actions, and so no one can take it from us, no one can take it from us, not even the devil! No one can deprive us of this dignity".
"Jesus’ words encourage us to never despair. I think of the mothers and fathers who are apprehensive when they see their children distancing themselves, taking dangerous roads. I think the parish priests and catechists who sometimes wonder if their work was in vain. But I also think of those who are in prison, and feel that their life is over; to those who have made wrong choices and fail to look to the future; to all those who hunger for mercy and forgiveness and believe they do not deserve it ... In all of life’s situations, I must never forget that I'll never stop being a child of God, being the son of a Father who loves me and waits for my return. Even in bad situations of life, God is waiting for me, God wants to embrace me, God is waiting for me".
"In the parable there is another son, the eldest; he needs to discover the mercy of the Father. He has always remained at home, but it is so different from his father! His words lack tenderness: "Behold, I served you for many years and I never disobeyed your command ... but now that this son of yours has returned ..." (vv. 29-30), the contempt. He never says 'Father', he never says 'brother', he only thinks of himself, he claims to have always remained beside his father, serving him; yet he never lived this closeness with joy. And now he accuses the father of never celebrating him. Poor father! A son was gone, and the other has never been really close!. The father’s suffering is like God's suffering, Jesus’s suffering when we grow distant or leave or when we are at hand without being close".
"The eldest son, is in need of mercy. The righteous, those who think they are right, they also have their need for mercy. This son is us when we wonder whether it is worthwhile to struggle so much if we do not receive anything in return. Jesus reminds us that in if we dwell in the Father's house it is not to be recompensed, but because we have the dignity of children who are co-responsible. It's not about doing a 'trade' with God, but to stand in the footsteps of Jesus who gave himself on the cross - and this - without measure. " 'Son, you are always with me and all that is mine is yours, but we must celebrate and rejoice" (v. 31). So says the father to the eldest son. The logic is that of mercy! The youngest son thought he deserved punishment because of his sins, the eldest son expected a reward for his services. The two brothers do not speak to each other, they live different stories, but they both think according to a logic alien to Jesus, if you do good you are rewarded if you do bad you are punished; and this is not the logic of Jesus, it is not. This logic is subverted by his father's words: "It was fitting to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and now he is alive again; he was lost and is found" (v. 31). The father has recovered his lost son, and now he can also return him to his brother! Without the son, the eldest son stops being a 'brother'. The father’s greatest joy is to see that his children recognize themselves as brothers".
"The children can decide whether to join the father's joy or decline. They should question their own wishes and the vision they have of life. The parable ends without a conclusion and we do not know what the eldest son decided to do. And this is a stimulus for us. This Gospel teaches us that we all need to enter the house of the Father and share in his joy at his celebration of mercy and brotherhood. Brothers and sisters, we must open our hearts, to be 'merciful as the Father' is merciful!"