The Polly Klaas Foundation is an organization committed to locating and helping runaway and abducted children. In one of its publications, PKF writes: “There is a very strong Runaway Myth that goes like this: Children who run away make their own decisions to go. Let them be, they’ve made their own choice and must deal with the consequences. If they want to come home, they will.” The article continues: “We want you to know the Runaway Myth makes several false assumptions. False Assumption #1: Teenagers are rational decision-makers. They make decisions and plan their actions with care.”
The parable of the prodigal son is a true myth buster. While it does not specify the age of “the prodigal,” it certainly paints the picture of an impulsive, reckless, inconsiderate, and self-indulgent individual. No doubt, these are all characteristics of immaturity. However, it would be a false assumption that we grow out of these very human attitudes that trigger irrational behavior and poor decisions.
On this 4th Sunday of Lent, we are offered the option of proclaiming the well-known parable from Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son…or “the Scrutiny” from John’s Gospel reporting on the drama surrounding the healing of the man born blind. Both stories reveal our spiritual immaturity that blinds us to God’s infinite goodness and love for us. Both stories offer an example of the impulsive tendencies that cause us to turn a deaf ear to what the Lord asks of us and to make our own decisions…chart our own course…go our own way.
Most important, however, both stories debunk the myth that when we fall into the pit, the inevitable result of irrational decisions and bad plans…the pit that distances us from the Gospel…God reaches down to raise us up. All we need to do is call out for help. As Pope Francis puts it: THE LORD ALWAYS FORGIVES EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! WHEN YOU HAVE THE STRENGTH TO SAY “I WANT TO COME HOME,” YOU WILL FIND THE DOOR OPEN…GOD IS ALWAYS WAITING FOR YOU!