Lectio Divina: Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Now the publicans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spoke to them this parable, saying: A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance. And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously. And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father's house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him. And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son. And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing: And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.

The reaction of the Pharisees and scribes show that they don't want the sinners and tax collectors to get better; they have no compassion, and don't want sinners to come into the kingdom and be blessed. In the parable, the tax collectors and sinners are represented by the prodigal son, and the Pharisees and scribes by the elder son.
For each of us, the inheritance analogous to that of the sons' is our relationship with the Father.
That the father saw his son when he was still a ways off shows the love of God the Father--watching, waiting, seeking his sons. His being moved with compassion contrasts with the behaviour of the Pharisees preceding the telling of the parable. The father doesn't prefer the prodigal to the elder son, though. When the elder son won't come in to the festivities, the father comes out to talk with him. He always seeks out both his sons.
The prodigal's confession to his father is for me a reminder of the Confiteor.
There was already a party going on for the son's return when the elder son comes back to the house. This shows he clearly hadn't been concerned for his brother, as was their father. The father saw him when he was a long ways off, and the brother didn't know he was home even when they had already started a party for him. His response to his father is sour and very bitter. He sees himself as a servant or slave, and not as a son. In our spiritual life we must work at not being like the elder son; we need to see ourselves as sons of God, with great dignity.

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