“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, “Father I have sinned against heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son…We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead, and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. So the party began.”
Luke 15:20-21; 23b-24 NLT
3rd Sunday – “When A Father Sees His Own!”
There are no other parables more heart-throbbing and insightful that the one Jesus told to illustrate His concern for helping the lost. Cast against the background of Jewish lore, this parable has elicited much commentary. While there is so much in the parable that speaks to life, close attention must be given the father before the younger son left home, and when he returned. We may be tempted to feel that the son merely asked his father for an advance on his inheritance, so he could go and discover what the world was like. But a close look at the text reveals this isn’t the case. The son spoke to his father in the imperative; he gave his father a command: ‘Give me my share of the inheritance, now.’ In Jewish culture, this was an act of disrespect to the father. An inheritance was only released upon the death of the benefactor (causa mortis). So the son was essentially saying to the father, ‘I consider you dead and no longer my father.’ Jesus then describes the son’s impetuous life-style; parties, drugs, rash spending, dishonoring the sabbath. The torrid life of no fixed residence, led him into poverty, homelessness, and hunger in the pig pen. The despised swine of the Jew became his pillar at night. By day he competed with them for bitter herbs, which stung his tongue and discolored his mouth. In that desolate place a son came to his senses (Luke 15:17, NLT). The only name he could call was Abba, my father, my daddy. Skin matted on a skeletal frame. A thick untamed beard, and hair fettered with lice, the son hobbled home. There to meet him, was the father he had declared dead. But the father joyfully recognized his son !