Day 18: Wholly Welcomed

Today’s readings

Recently, I worked with a group of college students from Indiana who were prepping for a meeting with their Senator’s office. They were meeting to advocate for greater protections and resources for asylum seekers. One of the students was also an asylum seeker living in the state for the past seven years. During the meeting, she challenged the Senator by asking: “You say your job is to help Hoosiers. Am I not a Hoosier as well?” With those words, she brought attention to a deeper issue: who do we choose to accept as part of our Community? 

In the parable of the prodigal son, the main focus is often on the difference between the two brothers – one a “rule-follower,” the other a “rule-breaker.” I like to focus on the father and the rule-following son instead. When the prodigal son returned seeking inclusion in his community, his brother could not see past how they were different and greeted him defensively. Ironically, by choosing not to welcome the lost brother into his community, he ultimately ended up isolating himself. The father, however, recognized that his family was incomplete without the acceptance of all of his children. He understood that the restoration of community happens when you prioritize wholeness rather than sameness.

Furthermore, the father directly addressed the root fear that anchored the rule-following son’s defensiveness: “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.” Having his wayward brother back was not going to dilute his father’s love for him or his access to the family resources. 

Our country has always been an extended family of immigrants. As we continue to encounter our siblings seeking welcome at all our borders, I hope we choose to greet them with the Father’s warmth.

3 replies
  1. Bob Slobig
    Bob Slobig says:

    I have to confess, I had not found these daily Lenten reflections very moving (which surprised me). But today’s grabbed me, particularly the part about whom we are willing to accept into our community. That will stick, and I will keep reading these each day.

  2. Pat
    Pat says:

    The reading today explained parts of the gospel I never really understood. It also made me stop and realize that I needed to forgive a brother who had caused hurt and for whom the other brothers and I were causing hurt from not being in the family fold. I had tried to forgive him but this reading caused me to see myself as the ‘ ruler follower’ I am trying the rest of Lent to reread this gospel for I believe it will take me much more reflection to truly understand. Thank you

  3. sonja
    sonja says:

    Are not all countries over time just an extended family of immigrants. May we strive to treat everyone as our brothers and sisters, no matter where they come from, or how long they have been here. We are all one in love.


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