Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Prodigal Son

Sunday reading was about the prodigal son.
Now for those of you unfamiliar with this story,its about a son,whose Father had great wealth.
The young man goes to his father and says "I would like all my inheritance now so I may go out into the world".
The father agreed and the son went out into a far off land to squander all his new found wealth.
When hard times set in,a famine throughout the region,the son found him self in a bad situation.
Being hungry and poor he gets a job feeding pigs.
He began to envy the pigs their food,because he was starving and no one had offered him any.
Suddenly he came to his senses and realized that even his father's servants had much to eat,while he had none.
The time had came to go back to his father and beg his forgiveness asking him to make him a servant,since he was no longer worthy to be considered his son.
The father on seeing his son far in the distance,was overjoyed,telling his servant's to get him his best robe and ring for his finger and to kill the fatted cow,for his son was lost and now found,dead and now alive.
The older brother,returning from the fields wanted to know what was going on,a servant told him,your brother has returned.
The brother became very angry and said to his father "why do you accept him back,give him a party and even killing the fatted calf,while I who have always been loyal to you,followed all your rules and done everything you have asked of me and you have never even given me a kid,baby goat,for me and my friends to party with.
The father said "you know everything I have is yours but your brother was gone and now he is back,was dead and now he is alive".
This story is filled with many dynamics.It holds not only one meaning but many.
First the father in this story is God and the son is us.
God has given us everything then set us on this earth,our far off region.
We have choices to make we can improve our wealth with investments in God and man or we can depreciate our selves with careless living and debauchery,thus we too will also be alone and starving,wanting for better.
But if we sincerely make the attempt to come back to God,ask humbly and meaningfully for forgiveness he will joyfully take us back into his house not just as a servant,like the angles,but has his very own child.
Next we have a dimension in the story of the jealousy of the older brother,the Pharisee,who feels slighted because he has always followed the rules done everything he can to always serve his father,except forgive his brother.
They,the Pharisees,do not like Jesus because he ministers to those who are lost from God and wandering at the bottom of life,whom Jesus is helping to bring back home to his Father.
In the story,the father,tries to explain to the older son that his joy has nothing to do with following the rules it has to do with seeking forgiveness and coming to him.
The son who hit rock bottom,which is told in the story when first he feeds the pigs,a no no for a Jewish person,and then desires to eat,the food the pigs are eating,which is lower then the pigs themselves.
Jesus was sent into the world to help those who've hit the bottom,he shows love from his father in the rejoicing that will be felt in heaven when one down and out child returns home and humbly ask for forgiveness.
This story ties in with the publican and tax collector.
We can stand in the middle of the Temple,like the publican and vainly ask for forgiveness by raising our eyes up to heaven and saying "yes I'm a sinner but I follow all the rules and thank God I'm not like that tax collector in the corner."
Or we can be the tax collector who feels so much remorse for his sins he is unable to raise his head up and simply and whole heartily ask to be forgiven.
At that point we become the prodigal son and not the Pharisee.
Because in the end its not just about following the rules and laws its about understanding their meaning in our lives and the lives of others.