March 17, 2010

Parable of the Prodigal Son

Michael Barber

This Sunday the Church reads the story of the Prodigal Son in the Liturgy (unless you’re doing the RCIA cycle, in which case you will read from John 9). Here I thought I’d offer a few thoughts on the story.

You’re Dead to Me

Jesus begins by telling the story of a man who had two sons. The parable begins with the younger brother going to the father and asking for his inheritance.

Of course, an inheritance is usually bestowed upon offspring after the death of the one bequeathing it. Essentially, by demanding his inheritance while his father is still alive the younger brother basically says, “Dad, you’re dead to me.”

We might note how incredible it is that the father actually honors his request―the father gives his son of his own estate while he is still living. In effect, the father impoverishes himself. Notably, the son has not told his father what he is going to do with it. Ostensibly, one could think that the son was looking to simply take responsibility of the family’s goods he would one day receive. (Though, given the fact that son has basically declared the death of his father, his next actions are not at all surprising). Yet, instead of sticking around and managing the family estate he has been entrusted with, he takes off with it!

To read this article in full visit the Sacred Page website.

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