It was love that led Jesus to put his own beloved body between us and the raging powers of sin, death, fear, hate, and violence. And it is that same love that leads us close to our enemies in humility and, even closer, to home.
Because the truth is that sometimes, surprisingly, it is hard to let love lead us to the ones we love the most. To lean into this mystery, we are looking at one of Jesus’ most familiar stories, the parable of the prodigal son. In particular, we’re focusing on the unsatisfying ending of the older brother standing outside the homecoming party, not celebrating, but instead resenting his younger brother’s restoration to the family.
Mother Theresa famously said, “if you want to save the world, first go home and love your family.” Too often, when we do embrace the radical root of Christianity, we sometimes act as though we are too spiritually elite to love the people closest to us. But if it’s true that the way we love our enemies is the way we love God (which, by the way, it is true), then it’s equally true that the way we love our families is the way we love God.