THE PARABLE of the prodigal son captures the essence of a loving and merciful God. Jesus, in telling this parable, not only assures us of just how outrageously lavish God’s love and mercy are but also presents us with his image of God. This parable is probably one of the most powerful pictures of God that Jesus offers. In the story, the younger son asks for his inheritance while his father still lives, which, in that time, is akin to wishing his father dead. After receiving his payment, the son takes off. He squanders his father’s hard-earned money and soon is left lonely and desperate. Not only does he lose his dignity but also his identity; he does what no good Jewish boy would ever do by coming into direct contact with pigs and eating their food. In desperation, he comes to his senses and decides to go home to his father, presenting himself as a servant and not a son. The father, we learn, has been longing for his son’s return, and when he sees his son, he refuses to consider him a servant. No matter what the son has done, he can never lose his identity or his father’s affections. His father embraces him, kisses him, and clothes him. He puts a ring on his finger, symbolizing the son’s identity as a member of the family. The father throws a party because his son was lost and is found, was dead and is now alive.
—Trevor Hudson, Anthony Egan, SJ, and Russell Pollitt, SJ
Divine Friendship: Reflections for Lent
From pages 45-46 of Divine Friendship: Reflections for Lent by Trevor Hudson, Anthony Egan, SJ, and Russell Pollitt, SJ. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.
When have you, like the prodigal son, experienced God’s loving embrace? Share your thoughts.
Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”
Prayer for the Week
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
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Did You Know?
Are you looking for Lenten resources? Divine Friendship: Reflections for Lent reminds us that God deeply desires friendship with us. During the month of February, Daily Reflections readers will receive a 30% discount when buying Divine Friendship from The Upper Room Bookstore. Visit our store this month, and use the following promo code when you check out: REFLECT30
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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