“This son of mine..was lost and is found.”
Scripture: Luke 15:22-24
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
This part of the parable is about restoration and forgiveness. Notice the father (God) barely responds to the son’s words of confession. He hugs him and kisses him! No lectures on past failures, poor decisions, personal greed, none of the “I hope you learned your lesson!”and so forth. The father calls for the “best” robe, the robe of royalty. He puts a signet ring on his son’s finger to remind him that he is still an heir, implying he still has an inheritance in spite of what he forfeited. The father saw a truly repentant son, a son who acknowledged his sin was against God, his vertical relationship, and against his father, his horizontal relationship. He had violated Jesus’ greatest two commandments: love God with all your heart, and soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. The son’s sin was that he violated both and confessed such to his father. The son remained an heir, even through foolishness, distance from home, and wonton self-will. He is given shoes for his worn, dirty and cracked feet. The father completely restored the son’s position and identity. Both the vertical and horizontal relationships were re-established. This called for celebration! Do you ever think of God “rejoicing” over you when you turn from self-will to his will? Are there some “prodigals” you have been praying for for a long time? Keep it up. They may not have made it to the pig pen yet. Keep watching the horizon and get ready to run!
Music: “The Love of God” Wintley Phipps
Prayer: Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you. Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say: ‘Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.’ Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. May I give as gracious love as do you my Father. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience. Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and for evermore, Amen.
–Sister Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997 adapted D.S.