I often wonder what happened the day after the Prodigal Son returned home.
With all due respect to the original parable, I always felt that the Father's celebration was ... well ... expected. I mean, what parent wouldn't rejoice upon laying eyes on a long lost son? The father in the parable must have been so overcome with joy that he didn't think twice about throwing a grand party.
Likewise, after his father's pleading, I imagine the older son put his jealousy aside for the night and joined the celebration.
But what about the next day? Or the week after?
How did the father react when the hangover wore off? Did he start to evaluate the situation? Now that he knew his son was safe, did anger start to fester? Did he feel betrayed? Did he regret serving the fatted calf on the son that wasted half his estate? Did he put him in charge of important duties - or give him the most menial of tasks to do?
And what about the older son? When his father wasn't near him, did his jealousy rage? Did he make life hard or awkward for his younger brother? Did he mope and whine instead of continuing to do his chores?
Or did they forgive as Jesus wants us to forgive? Completely. Day in and day out.
To me, that is the harder part. After the emotion wears off, and the words are said - actually living forgiveness in your heart and soul.
I hope you are having a Blessed Lent.