Then I became a parent myself, and I realized that the prodigal son couldn’t hold a candle to the merciful father. There stands a man whose baby has gone away. All he wants is for his son to come back, the son he cuddled in infancy, rough-housed in boyhood, trained in older years. Having once been a wild young man himself, he’s not insulted by his son’s need to “sow his seeds” and learn from his mistakes; he’s saddened to see his son go away. Then, word arrives that his son, the one he thought he would never see again and who might have been dead for all he knew, is coming back! Imagine his elation! It would be like finding out that your worst fears were bunk and your highest hopes coming true. His reaction, in light of this, is completely in line – only the finest for the son who has been away.
If my daughter goes away, takes part of my money, and does terrible things, I won’t want to purge her from my life. I won’t want to never see her again. No, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to bring her home. I held her in my arms not so long ago, and changed her diapers, and nursed her, and played with her. I watched her grow in the blink of an eye, and none of this love I feel will change, no matter what she does.
This must be my glimpse into God’s love for me. We can do some very terrible things, things that damage our souls and fracture our relationships with the people around us, and God is there at the end of the driveway, waiting for us. He offers us complete absolution and healing for our soul with the therapy of the confessional, where we get forgiveness right from the top and helpful advice on living our life closer to God. Confession isn’t chastisement; it’s God at the end of the driveway saying “come, my son, my daughter, come closer to me; let me hold you close to me and walk home with you.”