Today we read the story of the Prodigal son, a parable which is only found in Luke. I love this parable. We discussed it this week in my Lenten Bible study, and of course, we discussed the points of view of the main characters and how each of us can – at some point in our lives – identify with all of them : the lost son, the dutiful son and the forgiving father. Most around the table seem to be identifying with the dutiful son, at this point in their lives. I thought that was interesting. I almost always identify with the wayward son, myself but as of late, I had to admit that the parable character I most identify with is the Fatted Calf. This garnered some chuckles around the table. Unfortunately, I was only semi-joking…
I did observe that while I don’t frequently relate to the dutiful but resentful older son, if I were present for Jesus ministry, I might find myself in the role of the critical and doubting scribes and Pharisees. I would probably see Jesus standing with sinners and become judgmental and discount his holiness. I might gossip about him, or speculate on what shenanigans he is up to. :-( This got alot of agreement from our group.
Anyway, for reflection on the the gospel reading, I am sending you to two great sources for further enlightenment. First, a video by Fr. John Riccardo of Our Lady of Good Counsel here in SE Michigan (which I have posted before).
Second, biblical scholar Michael Barber‘s treatise on the Prodigal Son which he posted over on The Sacred Page yesterday. (I wish he had posted it before Thursday, I would have looked very smart “coming up” with these brilliant ideas!) (totally kidding, I would have given him credit.)
You Can Always Come Home
The Prodigal Son, New Life and Sacramental Imagery by Michael Barber