My Dear Sisters and Brothers! At the beginning of the Gospel we find out that the father divided his property between his two sons. He did this at the request of the younger boy who took what he received and left. He chose an easy life. Why? Because his older brother was left on his own with the responsibility to taking care of the father. The inheritance the elder brother got wasn’t entirely at his disposal. He had to keep a portion of that to look after his aging father. The younger man had everything for himself. It is important to keep this in mind before we take sides. When the young boy returned home after wasting all the money where did all the things his father gave him upon his return come from? They came from what belonged to the elder son. That’s why in spite of loving this parable I find it difficult to apply to my life.
This is a parable not only about receiving but predominantly about giving away what I am entitled to. As Christians we can’t be a younger son or daughter all the time. We need to grow up and embrace the role, or better to say the ministry, of an elder daughter or son. It is the role, the ministry, of the person who is prepared to let God show his mercy, his love and blessing using the resources which belong to me. It’s not an easy call, is it?
However as Christians we have Jesus Christ, our elder brother, who is more than a model for us to follow. Jesus Christ speaks to us the words of eternal life which reach the depth of our soul not just our brain. Jesus Christ gives us his Body and Blood which build in us a spiritual man or woman, someone who resembles Jesus Christ when it comes to giving ourselves away, especially to those who have used us, abused our trust or taken advantage of our good heart.
Our Heavenly Father, of whom the father from the parable is a symbol, is the one who deserves the nickname prodigal as ‘He causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike.’ Jesus Christ who told the parable deserves to have a nickname prodigal too as imitating his Heavenly Father he stretched out his arm on the cross to embrace the good people and the bad people. The elder brother from today’s parable struggled to be prodigal. We know from our own experience that it is not easy to be prodigal like our Heavenly Father is prodigal. However when we choose to believe Jesus that it is worthwhile to be the person who is prepared to let God show his mercy, his love and blessing using the resources which belong to us there will be a younger brother or sister of ours receiving God’s mercy and beginning growing up to become an elder brother or sister for someone else.
Today the Lord Jesus speaks about God giving through us. Whom among the people you know do you recognize as recipient? What is it that God wants to give to other out of your own richness? Do you desire to have a nickname prodigal?