Today we have the parable of the prodigal son. Rather than focussing on him, however, I wanted to take a closer look at the older brother. When one looks closely at him he could be any one of us. His greatest fault seems to me to be, not jealousy or unforgiveness, but a lack of appreciation for what he has.
The accusation he hurls at his father, "Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends." Do we know this to be fact? Or is he simply being the kid whose "never" is an exaggeration?
The father sees the truth. "You are here with me always; everything I have is yours." The truth is that the young man has everything, but can't see it.
During Lent we give up something for forty days, as an act of penance. Also, it is hoped that when we go back to it, we go back with a new appreciation. In this season of prayer, perhaps we need to take time to take a real inventory of everything and everyone we have in our lives and unlike the older brother simply be grateful.