By Rosella Kinoshameg DOS
In Anishinaabe aadizookaan (traditional storytelling) among our people, Nanabozho, also known as Nanabush, a half spirit possessing supernatural powers that were not possessed by any other, was sent to live among the Anishinabek, to help them become stronger, to guide them and to make their lives happier and meaningful. He was also to teach healing using the medicines of plants. His life was a combination of wisdom and foolishness. He has been called a trickster but his foolishness was not to be malicious but was to be a medicine of laughter. His mistakes were to be laughed at but they were also to teach great lessons.
Jesus,too, frequently used parables, a common storytelling method in his day, using common things (salt, bread, sheep, etc.) familiar to everyone, to teach profound, divine truths, rich in meaning. The people could remember these stories.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us about God’s love for the lost and found through “the story of the prodigal son.”The son was an individual living in sin, who left home as a sign of rebellion against God, who finally “comes to his senses” – gibe mkowe. When he reaches rock bottom, he repents and returns to a personal relationship with God. In this Parable, Jesus reveals God’s character and love for those who are ready to accept it (the prodigal son who returns to his father), and his rejection of the Pharisees’ self-centered righteousness (the older son).
We all need to return to God in repentance and faith. He does not force us, so it must be our personal choice. God’s forgiveness is gained only by repentance.Jesus talks about God who, like the father in the story, is always watching and waiting for our return home. God is always ready to forgive, has great everlasting unconditional love for us, no matter what. That day of repentance is cause for joy and great celebration!
Father, help us always to return toyour open arms and merciful heart. Amen.