Our gospel scripture today contains three well known and loved parables. I want to focus on the third.
When I was a boy it was always called the Parable of the Prodigal Son, then, when I was older it became common place to call it the Parable of the Loving Father to emphasise God’s great love and mercy to the sinner.
However, Jesus begins the parable simply “A man had two sons,”today that’s how I tend to think of it; the parable of the two sons.
It’s the story of two sons, two path ways and two ways of going off “to a distant country” Both boys in this story are led astray in different ways.
Like the younger son; in our early years we can all drift away. Our early years perhaps saw us enticed by everything around, it was a time to “sow our wild oats”.
Then we grew up – perhaps matured a bit and came to our senses and returned from “a distant country.” The young son experiences a change, a conversion and repentance.
As we grow older our horizons change. As we get older we chose to be more faithful to our commitments and see things differently. Sometimes we can be amazed at how we’ve grown and changed. The older son falls into a trap; he began to see his brother with envy and resentment. His commitment to conventional and traditional ways led him astray. He ends up blind to the love and mercy of his Father.
The younger son’s life-style may have made headlines on television or in the morning paper, but the sins of the older son are certainly more spiritually destructive and damaging. The life-styles and attitudes of both sons blinded them to the generosity of the Father who tells us “all that is mine is yours.”
Let us open ourselves in new ways to the power of this story!
Monsignor Paul Farmer