Reader: “This son of mine . . .”
Response: “was lost and is found.”
Scripture: Luke 15:22-24
“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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 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 clearly receives them and moves on. No lectures on past failures, poor decisions, personal greed, and so forth. The father calls for the “best” robe, the robe of royalty. (The best robe was the father’s.)
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 ring was an affirmation giving him authority. 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. Perhaps a reminder to stay on the right path? The father completely restored the son’s position and identity. 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, long time? Keep praying. They may not have made it to the pig pen yet. Keep watching the horizon and get ready to run! Skip your speech and hug!
Music: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” A hymn sing in England!! Note the broad cross-section of singers! Looks like the church universal.
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. 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