“Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full.”
Words of Jesus to Faustina as recorded in her Diary, par. 1448
The younger son takes his inheritance, leaves and fritters it all away on loose living. When he finally comes to his senses and recognizes his depravity, his loneliness, his destitution and, especially, his emptiness, he returns home begging forgiveness and a servant’s life. Too well we all know his story but what about his older Big Brother?
Rembrandt paints him in the shadows, just outside the light that bathes the father hugging his younger brother, caressing him in the warmth of forgiveness. He is jealous. Who wouldn’t be? It’s a natural human reaction to unfair treatment, or at least perceived unfair treatment. Will he realize his own emptiness and become a good Big Brother?
Moses is on the mountain praying for forty days, totally unaware of his people’s apostasy, until God in His anger promises to make him into a great nation after destroying these stiff-necked people. It’s a tempting offer. They, too, have frittered away their inheritance. Moses has remained true to his Father but instead of accepting the offer he begs God’s forgiveness on behalf of his younger siblings.
Paul’s conversion is more dramatic than the younger son’s and it is instigated by God rather than by his own unrecognized festering sense of emptiness of faith. How does he respond? Like the younger son, he “converts,” he “turns with” Christ, he becomes a Big Brother, sacrificing his life and wellbeing, like Moses, for his younger siblings.
In this light we can better see Christ as the One, True, Big Brother. He made us siblings by His life, death and resurrection. He gave us the inheritance of the Kingdom. He remains with us always until His final return. Now it’s my turn. Nourished by the Sacramental life of His Church, I must be a Big Brother to others.