Prodigal, parent, or sibling?

This week’s Common Lesson  in EfM we discussed the parable of the prodigal son as found in the Gospel of Luke.  Everyone knows this story, so I am not gonna bother with quotes. But anyhow, our facilitator asked us what each of the key characters in this parable might be feeling during various points in the story.

I think most of we Christians are taught to identify with the prodigal. Face it: we are all sinners & it is only by the grace of God &  through Christ our Savior that we are  welcomed into God’s family.

But let us imagine being the other son. you know, the ” good son” who did what he was told & hardly ever fussed at his parents.  What is he feeling when the father welcomes home his wayward brother & then decides to throw a PARTY  in the honor of the former troublemaker? Does he feel resentment? Maybe a bit of confusion? After all he is the son who listened to his parents & didn’t run off  with the family’s fortune & spent it on vices.

Who are the ” good sons” in  our lives? Am I a ” good son”? Are they the people who attend church every week faithfully but do not welcome the stranger who shows up  one morning, a stranger who is clearly not like most of the people sitting in the pews. Why should our family welcome this wayward should who has clearly become a stranger?  But, we are, by our Baptism, ALL God’s beloved & all are welcome home to God’s House.

 Now let us imagine the father. I’m sure he has missed the wayward son. he might now ” approve” of what his  son might have done in the past, but Scripture seems to  suggest that the  father is ovewhelmed with joy at  seeing the son whom he had thought was dead, or at best never coming come, returning to the family.  The father  forgives.

I read a book based on the parable of the Prodigal Son in preparation for making my first Confession.  Perhaps Christ tells this parable to illustrate to us what the Kingdom Of God is like & should be here on Earth.  In the Kingdom of God, all are welcome home.  Grace from our all-knowing but  ever-loving God flows like  beer at one of my own family’s parties & nothing any of us  did can earn us that grace. But at the same time, none of our sins are so severe that our loving God will not welcome  us back into the family. God delights in prodigals coming home, but perhaps God also  wants those of us who are a bit unwilling to welcome other sinners  into{ or  back into} our Christian family.

Amen.

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