The prodigal son’s story calls us to be humble and sincere before God, who in this story is the Father. The prodigal son, in demanding his father’s inheritance, was demanding to be his own master; denying his position as son. Since his share is part of the father’s estate, the son could have used this share of the resources according to the will of his father. Therefore, the son not only wanted to be his own master, but he was acting as if his father was dead. The proper response would have been to throw him out, penniless. That’s not what happened. The father gave him what he wanted.
The son, after coming to his senses, declares: I am no longer worthy to be called your son (v. 21b). The son is absolutely correct. The son had written himself out of the family, dishonored his father, and spent his portion. He has no choice but to be humble and contrite. The son deserves nothing but the poverty and loneliness that he has brought upon himself.
After the prodigal son is forgiven, the older son says: ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ (v. 29-30)
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. (v. 31)
You see, the older son could have had the young goat all along, if only he requested it. For the father allows the son to partake in his estate.
Let’s approach God humbly today. We are sinners who have denied the father as severely as the prodigal son. Also, let’s not be like the older son who underestimates the grace and generosity of our Father. Be ready to ask the Father for what you need, because the Father is loving and generous.
Lenten Reader 2018
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