Michael Schaeffer ’89
ND Parent

When meditating on the familiar parable of the Prodigal Son, I have found myself relating to different characters in the story at different points in my life.

I’ve been able to see myself in the self-indulgence of the squandering younger son, who eventually took ownership of his deeds and humbly returned home. Alternatively, the rule-following accountant in me (not to mention being the first-born son) can sympathize with the jealousy of the elder son still waiting for his goat and party. But perhaps it is because I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the power of the Notre Dame family during Junior Parents’ Weekend as a dad, that I am currently focused on the father’s actions in this story.

I love how Luke makes a point to describe the father running out to his lost son. He embraces and kisses him without waiting for an apology. He has zero hesitation in breaking out the rings and robes, sacrificing the fattened calf and kicking off the celebration of all celebrations.

Jesus’ brilliant tale provides us with the example of how to share unconditional love for others, summarizing simply that “everything I have is yours,” no matter in which role we find ourselves.

No matter which character in the parable speaks to you most, I pray that all of us can appreciate that our compassionate Holy Father is always there for us—ready to run to embrace and kiss us, showering us with heavenly gifts beyond our human imagination.