Gospel, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
1 The tax collectors and sinners, however, were all crowding round to listen to him,
3 So he told them this parable:
11 Then he said, ‘There was a man who had two sons.
13 A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
14 ‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch;
15 so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.
16 And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.
17 Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger!
19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men.”
20 So he left the place and went back to his father. ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him.
21 Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.”
22 But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we will celebrate by having a feast,
24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.
25 ‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing.
26 Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about.
27 The servant told him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf we had been fattening because he has got him back safe and sound.”
28 He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out and began to urge him to come in;
29 but he retorted to his father, “All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends.
30 But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property — he and his loose women — you kill the calf we had been fattening.”
31 ‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours.
32 But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”
The gospel reading illustrates a perfect role play of life for all to reflect and take action in search for the kingdom of God. We are urged to examine and reflect our life’s practices as to the three characters of this gospel reading, the younger brother, the older brother and the father.
The maturity of our religious life could be easily judged like the younger brother, who asked for his share of the father’s estate and inheritance to live a life he wishes away from his father. A kind of life inclined to the worldly desires of pleasure, personal comfort and lavishness of material things. A life could be judged like an older brother, who stays with the father, enslaves himself with hard work and possesses unhappy disposition of the heart thinking for long the father did not celebrate with him together with his friend even with a kid. A kind of life who harbor a heavy heart who was expecting so much in return from his father yet seems of no avail. And lastly, life could be judged like the father, who gave no value to the great insult from his younger son asking the share of his inheritance while he is still alive. Isn’t it some kind of great insult as if the father was cursed into early death? The father surely advances this thinking but shows no reaction instead granting the younger brother’s request. He was greatly saddened at a distance watching his son turn back away from him who has shown unconditional love.
While the younger brother enjoys and squanders all his share of inheritance, his life turns upside down and becomes destitute. It was then that he looked back with a remorseful life he left with his father and older brother and thought how much better off he would be if he returned to them and be reconciled. Surely, this same experience and feeling of remorse will lead us to think twice in this Lenten season to do something in remorse and repent for our sins to achieve reconciliation to the Father in heaven whom we have sinned for many times like the younger brother or to the least like an older brother who served in obedience for a reward and worldly appreciation in the crowd of his friends.
Brothers and sisters in Christ we are no different from the two sons of the father in this life changing story.The father character is like God. He is merciful, and his love knows no end. He shows to both his sons that his love is enduring and steadfast in them even in the varying circumstances of life.
Our God is a God of love that knows no end for all of us regardless of how sinful we are so long as we reconcile back to him in repentance, forgiveness and and reparation.