The oldest son in today’s familiar “prodigal son” parable is easy for many of us to identify with! In many families, one child may feel that another child got more love and attention from parents than they did. And that actually may be the case, for example in families where boys are favored over girls, or in families where there is a child with a problem like a physical or learning disability, or an addiction or other destructive behavior. It’s easy to become resentful when this unevenness occurs, and demand our own party, like the older son did. In our Christian life, too, we sometimes may feel unappreciated in our ministry efforts, in our life tasks, our vocations; we may feel taken for granted by our church and its leaders. It is human to need attention and affirmation from parents, bosses, leaders. Knowing this, we listen to the father in our story saying: “My son/daughter, you are here with me always, everything I have is yours.” And so perhaps the grace that this parable tells us we need can be summed up in the words of the prayer of St. Francis: O Master grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia