As you begin your preparation, pause for a few moments and begin to relax. Take several deep breaths and rest in the loving presence of God.
"His son said to him, ?Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.' But his father ordered his servants, ?Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.' Then the celebration began."
A feast in his honor was the last thing the prodigal son expected when he returned home. After all, hadn't he caused his father great pain and disappointment? Who in their right mind would be so happy to see him that they would throw a party for him? Yet, that's exactly what happened. The son must have been awed and humbled and totally confused by his father's response. Unconditional love is like that. The rules and requirements we create about who is loveable are erased. God makes it simple-we are to love everyone. And when a lost one returns, God invites us to join in the celebration.
What surprises me most about the forgiving father's response? the son's response?
If someone who had been lost to me would return today, how would I respond?
(Speak to God, using this prayer or words of your own.)
Merciful God, seeker of the lost, you stand ready to receive us when we make our way back to you. Help me to imitate your unconditional love in the relationships I have with others.