One of the most difficult things that parents do is raising children. These are especially during the times when the kids reach that stage when they are frequently out of home, often in school and volunteer activities. My daughter who is in second year of medical school, aside from the load of subjects in the modular curriculum; is into several extra-curricular activities, which also include volunteer work in Manila’s depressed communities as part of their formation. Nights are always moments of waiting and anxiety for us as to what time she gets home.
Throughout our lives when the children are still growing up, we focus our attention on the development of skills that they’d need as they learn how to eventually support themselves in the future. As I see other parents let go of their children to leave lives of their own, a new set of worries are being experienced by the parents themselves. They realize that in these times, they can only advise, rather than make decisions for their children. Difficulties experienced by the children make it also doubly challenging for the parents as it bring deeper emotions and sadness. Parents feel for their loved ones very deeply.
When we become parents, a lot of our life’s priorities are altered and changed. In the growing up years we are still able to control and influence their environments, just to manage our emotions and fears. However, the most difficult moment comes when it’s time for them to leave the nest to find their place in the world. This must have been the worst fear that the father in the parable felt as his son decided to leave home.
What Jesus emphasizes in the Gospel is that God’s love is endless and everlasting. Despite the son’s recklessness, the father in the parable still accepted him wholeheartedly. Like a loving parent, God accepts our fickle-mindedness and short-sightedness at any time, twenty-four-seven. While the older brother felt jealous and self-righteous, God reminds us to act lovingly like Him, and to avoid jealousy and hatred. While not exactly the best illustration of God’s love, parents can relate to the father’s deep relief when the son returned, as it erased all the fears he experienced in the absence of his son. Truly, this parable shows us the way to forgiveness, intended for parents and as well as sinners in need of repentance.
‘I will rise and go to my father.’ (Lk. 15: 18)