It occurred to me the other day…I was reading something… I think I finally get the father whose (prodigal) son demanded his inheritance early, ran off and caroused his way through the next few years while his brother stayed at home working along side his father. (Editor Angel: Or at least you had a insight into the story that you haven’t had before.)
I always pretty sympathetic with the dutiful brother. He was upset to have his faithfulness and devotion seemingly set aside in favor of his wayward brother, when the rounder, after losing all his money, decided he’d seen the light and returned home.
It’s not so much that I was one or the other of these characters in my own life. But like the stories of the lost sheep and the lost penny and others, where there is great rejoicing upon finding that which is lost, I have felt conflicted.
At least until I began to think about the saints like Mother Theresa and Theresa of Liseaux (the little flower) who seemed always to be good, always righteous and faithful.
It occurred to me to think about how they might react up in heaven to learning the good news that a new sinner had just turned on his wayward path, first to consider and then to accept God, repenting of his or her sinful ways. What might God the Father feel, as He was tending to the many ills and pains of the poor and the oppressed, when He heard a beloved daughter or son call out to Him for His forgiveness and protection.
How might my mother and father, now in Heaven, react to news that my eyes had been opened and I had finally realized God was there loving me all the while.
I can imagine all of them, along with a full complement of the heavenly host, having such an overwhelming sense of joy. They might even ring bells or sound trumpets at each new convert.
I can imagine my parents calling upon God and Jesus and all the angels and archangels and all their new martyr buddies to join them for a great banquet where everyone would rejoice that I would be joining them one day.
Unlike here on earth where inheritances and estates are a zero-sum game — where if you get more, I get less — heaven is fully available to everyone. So, unlike the devoted son in Luke, everyone wins.
Our heavenly joy is multiplied whens a newcomer joins the ranks, as we understand it will hasten the time when we are all able to see our God face to face.