Sunday of the Prodigal Son

The parable read today is usually called “the parable of the Prodigal Son,” who is at the center of the story. It might also be called “the parable of the Merciful Father,” who welcomes back his son, embracing him, restoring him to his position, declaring a joyous celebration without even seeming to hear or listen to his son’s confession or protestation. It might also be called “the parable of the Petulant Son,” who is grumpy and peeved at the father’s merciful loving kindness because he thinks that he himself is so much better than his brother. As we prepare for the Great Fast, do we see a pattern developing? The pharisee thought he was much better than the tax-collector, the older son thought he was so much better than his prodigal brother, but God overflows in love for all his creatures. Perhaps the real main purpose of the Great Fast is to turn from pride to humility, to begin to see others through the eyes of God, to overflow in love for others. Truly, what does it mean to be a Christian?