The gospel read at Mass last weekend was from Luke and included the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32). It is my favorite parable and one that always sets me down a path of reflection.
I think fathers are hard on their children, especially their sons (rightly or wrongly). Fathers know the trials, traps and dangers that lay in wait for their offspring and want to be sure to the best of their ability that their children are prepared.
But a necessary one.
So we play it out.
And when it is time for them to go, and if we’ve done our job, the child leaves and (we hope) finds it a smoother road than expected.
At least at first.
And the young man journeyed on his way,
And he said to himself as he travelled along:
This sure is an easy road,
Nothing like the rough furrows behind my father’s plow.
Our children do not always grasp the reasons why we’re not “their best friend” until (hopefully) age and wisdom borne from years spent living makes it clear to them just what their dad was attempting to do for them.
We learn to accept that we may never hear the words “thank you.”
Once they’ve flown the nest and are making their way in the world problems will be faced. Problems that no matter how much their father wished otherwise he was unable to prepare them for everything. It happens.
And, if mistakes are made, every son or daughter may be found asking themselves:
Does that lamp still burn in my Father’s house,
Which he kindled the night I went away?
I turned once beneath the cedar boughs,
And marked it gleam with a golden ray;
Did he think to light me home some day?
And with the last of the remaining strength available to him the father wants to find himself able to reply …
Poetry excerpt credits: