Saint Augustine offered the following commentary on the parable of the father who welcomes his son, relating it to Jesus' words in Matthew 11,28-30:
While the prodigal son was still thinking about what he would say to his father, (...) his father ran to meet him. What does that mean, to run to meet him, but to assure him of his mercy in advance? "While he was still far off, his father ran to meet him, moved by pity." Why was he moved by pity? Because his son was miserable. "He ran to meet him and threw himself on his neck," in other words, he put his arm around his neck.
The Father's arm is the Son; he gave him Christ to bear; that burden is not a heavy weight; rather it offers relief. "My yoke is easy and my burden light" (Matt 11,30). He put his weight on his son who had stood up, and in putting his weight on him he did not let him fall down again. Christ's yoke is so light that not only is it not a burden, but it offers relief. It is not light in the sense that we say some burdens are light because, although they do have a certain weight, they do not weigh as much as others: (...) Christ's burden is not like that; you have to bear it in order to find relief; if you set it down, you will be more burdened. (...) So when the father fell on his son's neck, he did not burden him; he honored him; he was not a heavy weight. For how could anyone be able to carry God, unless the God he carried carried him?
How can we not remain trapped in self-reproach, but rather fix our eyes on the Father who runs to meet us?
When, in my life, did I see Christ as an arm around my neck?
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