Sunday, March 6, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Do we love the elder son as much as we love his prodigal brother? Do we acknowledge the legitimacy of the former's grievances? Are we comfortable with the righteousness of his anger? Do we truly listen to him? Or do we write him off as a stubborn fool, or worse, who's getting in the way of progress? It is easy to taste and see beauty in the prodigal's repentance and the father's forgiveness. But what about the elder one? What is his beauty? More importantly, do we care enough to seek it?

I keep coming back to such questions as I ponder our current presidential contest, most especially as I consider those fellow citizens who have gravitated to Donald Trump. Are they really troglodytes bent on ruining our happy endings? Or are they good people, who have done their best to live the American Dream, only to find themselves swamped by "new things" that never seem to stop coming? It is not a perfect analogy, but I just cannot stop hearing a bit of that elder child in their voices. For their wounds are real. And their anger is not as bizarre or incomprehensible as we want to believe.

And so I restate my initial question: do we love them? Do we love these elder brothers and sisters as much as those whose beauty is easier for us to taste and see? Yes, we have some choices to make, and not just for whom to vote. Will we leave our comfort zones and plead with our elder siblings to join us at table? Or are we content to leave them standing outside in the darkness?