The parable of the Prodigal son is a multi-dimensional narrative with lessons galore! As I reflected this morning during Mass on the gospel, what struck me was the Salesian interpretation of the same. The whole parable is an analogy of Salesian presence. The younger son, after having lost everything yearns to be back at his father's place... position (as son or servant) does not matter. All he wants to be is back with his father. But for this to happen, for this yearning to be in the PRESENCE of a beloved, one ought to EXPERIENCE the depth and love of the other. While the younger son, realised this when he had nothing else to rely on, the elder son, never realised this, though he was in the presence of the father all along.
While presence is perhaps the most essential element of our Salesian pedagogy, we need to constantly qualify it with creativity, challenge, courage and above all love.