Today's Gospel reading from Luke 15 is probably a familiar story - we call it The Prodigal Son. And rightly so. But it is really a story of two sons and a loving father.
The older son in the story is often forgotten, or vilified for being unloving. Think of him as the un-prodigal son. He objects when his father throws a huge banquet for his irresponsible brother, yet he never so much as got a small party, even though he was faithful all his life. I don't know about you, but I can sure relate with the older son. I get him.
Perhaps the older son's gravest error was forgetting that the father loved him just as much as he did the younger son. I'm sure he broke his father's heart saying what he did. Let's give the un-prodigal son credit for his faithfulness, and be sure we never doubt the Father's love for us.
Father, help us never to doubt your love for us, and rejoice when the lost are found. Amen.
I read another commentary on this parable today. It pointed out Jesus was addressing the story to the Pharisees. This is a quote from the commentary:
But, uncomfortable and unwelcomed as it might be, the story of the elder son is the one that Rabbi Jesus wants us to direct our attention to, knowing us better than we know ourselves, understanding that we are quick to judge and slow to forgive, putting us squarely in the shoes of the elder son, a surrogate for the Pharisees in the story.
Very eye opening! I enjoyed the callers today also and their views on the parable.
God works in mysterious ways!
While working in a Dual Diagnosis (mental health and substance abuse) program, one of the people I got to meet was Joe. He suffered from a “mild” form of schizophrenia and was an avid Bible reader. One day in a group, another patient identified how those who follow the rules tend to be ignored by staff, but those who cause trouble get all the attention. I pointed out to him that it was no different for the staff as hard workers were often taken for granted and overlooked.
Joe brought up this parable and explained that getting recognition for doing what we are supposed to do is not important – because God sees all we do, and doing the right things in His eyes is what matters.
Talk about an eye-opener!