robed in mercy
"Quick! bring out the finest robe and put it on him." —Luke 15:22
Did you ever notice the similarity between this story of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11ff) and Old Testament stories? When Jesus said, "A man had two sons" (Lk 15:11), His Jewish listeners would have latched onto that right away. Adam had two sons, Cain and Abel (Gn 4:1-2). Abraham had Isaac and Ishmael (Gn 16:15, 21:2-3). Isaac had Jacob and Esau (Gn 25:25-26). Each of those relationships between the sons featured conflict resulting from jealousy, coming from at least one of the brothers.
We can find more similarities. Both the Prodigal Son and Joseph got the finest robe (Lk 15:22; Gn 37:3). This made the other brother(s) jealous, and the venom emerged. Envy compelled Joseph's brothers to get rid of him (Gn 37:20ff), and envy prevented the elder brother from entering his father's house (Lk 15:28). "Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising goodwill. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility" (Catechism, 2540).
Has envy taken up residence in your heart? For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Mt 6:21). If our most valued treasure is the Father's compassion and mercy toward us, we will then thank Him by giving the same gift to others. Imitate Jesus; treat others better than they deserve to be treated by showing them mercy.
Prayer: Father, let not my impious desires make me fail to receive Your gifts of compassion and mercy. Let my heart be fully open to You so that You might work healing miracles of love and mercy in my life today.
Promise: "Everything I have is yours!" —Lk 15:31
Praise: By forgiving his brother, Matthew began the process of reconciliation.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010
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