Great compliment!

Luke: 15: 11-32

Story of two sons of a loving father is widely understood as the story of the prodigal son, and speaks of the son who squandered all his possessions and inheritance in loose spending.

We also perhaps have heard that it is the story of the prodigal father rather than of the prodigal son.

Great compliment to humanity:

Today’s story of the prodigal son is an event where Christ gives a great compliment to mankind, which ties back into the whole story of creation where God created man in his own image and likeness. In last week’s reflection I shared how we are primarily divine than human. WE also learned that before we let someone down for whatever reason that we will think twice to whom we are going to say, that I won’t give you a second chance or may be a final chance. For God would. God always gives a second chance and even a third and fourth and even a final one with an extended period. For God’s love surpasses His anger and justice.

Here is a story that proves the several chances we get in our lives and at the same time, where God compliments us along with our second and third chances and invites to claim our identity. In saying this story to his disciples Jesus uses a beautiful phrase. When the son who squandered all his money in wasteful living, “He came to himself”

When a man or woman comes to himself or herself he or she comes to senses. Or when a man or woman comes to himself or herself he or she comes closer to God recognizing his or her life in the past and the need to be closer to their Father, who is God himself. So, when a man or a woman is in himself or herself is closer to God than ever. This points to the eternal truth that we are the living tabernacle of God, all of it created in his own image and likeness and when we find that God within us, we come to our senses and when we come to our senses we come closer to God.

Isn’t this wonderful to know that to be a better person we don’t have to go on searching all around us but within us and come and get in touch with ourselves. For God lives there. So, today’s first lesson for us is to pray this small prayer. Recite it after me as I pray this.

God bring me to myself, to my senses.
God bring my father to himself
God bring my mother to herself
God bring my son to himself
God bring my daughter to herself
God bring my friends to themselves
God bring my neighbors to themselves
God bring humanity to themselves
That we may see You within ourselves first
That we may see You in others
That we may live a life filled with love. Amen.

Make this prayer to the heavenly father who is all love. Make this prayer to the Father who complimented humanity for being essentially divine and close to God than away from God.

So today as we reflect on the prodigal son, let us take into heart the nature of the prodigal father who expends all his love without reserve to us sinners. This story came alive to be a great compliment to mankind, because there was a father, a great creator who believed in humanity and empowered mankind to take on the job of recreating love on earth.

How did that happen? What exactly happened here when the son returned?

The returning man had made a decision whether he wants to be part of the family or not. The younger son who returned with a contrite heart decided, knowing fully well what he had done, that he shall not ask for anything other than the place of a servant who does not have the right to be recalled for work for another day. He said, he shall not even be called a slave or servant for a servant is part of the family and food is secured. So, with deep humility and contrite heart the second son admits his failures and accepts all that is due to him as a sinner and a son who broke the law. The younger son was not prepared to seek a second chance with the father for he knew in himself, when he turned to himself, what he had done against the magnanimous love of his father.

Even without asking for it, the father goes out of his way to give him a second chance. Father didn’t stay all those years angry and mad for what his had done. He didn’t forget his younger son because he was away. He had his hearts eyes upon the son who was away from his household. He didn’t judge him, fear him, or was angry at him, but rather loved him, loved to spot him even from far in his blindness of the old age.

So, when the son returned, he had no time to waste to treat him like a stranger and a criminal. He was not an outcast because of his sins. He only was lost and he is found. He didn’t even allow his son to talk a word of apology to him at first. At the sight of his son, he ran to embrace him, he called out to his servants to make a feast on the return of his son. He went out of his way to pacify his older son, the angry brother. The angry brother…. That is for another day or two for us to reflect on. Now the father called all his family to make a feast and clothed him with honor and power.

By giving him the robe, the father announced to the entire family that he is honored member of his family. By giving him the ring he announced that he has the authority of a son in his family. By giving him the shoes, he gave him freedom. Wearing shoe was considered the sign of freedom in the world of slaves.

According to the tradition where I grew up when a man and a woman is married, it is customary that the man adorns the woman with a beautiful dress during the service and then a beautiful ring on her fingers. As the service in the church is over and return home the mother of the groom or bride will wash the feet of the one coming into her home and give him or her the freedom of a daughter or son.

So, today my dear brothers and sisters as we go away from this holy place, remember this:

o We are called to come to our senses by returning to our inner selves where God made us beautiful and divine beings. Come back to your senses.

o We are called to give honor, power and freedom to people in our homes and in our lives.

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© 2007: Rev. Jos Tharakan. Requires permission to reproduce. Email: fathersjos at gmail.com