Fathers and Sons, Brothers and Sisters

September 24th, 2013 Posted in writing

In the parable of the prodigal son (often referred to as the parable of the forgiving father) Jesus teaches us that God takes back sinners, and that includes us, no matter what they have done or how far they have strayed.

But in the parable, the older brother, who had been faithful to his father, wasn’t forgiving or welcoming at all. On the contrary, not only was he angry at his brother for leaving his father and him, he told his father it was wrong to be so forgiving towards the younger brother, whom he called ‘this son of yours.’ But the father explained that mercy had to be shown to ‘this brother of yours’ because he had been lost, was dead and had come back to life.

Trying to get the older brother to see beyond his brother’s walking out on the family, the father tried to get him to accept that, despite the younger son’s disloyalty, he would always be a son to his father — and a brother to the older son — and had to be forgiven, welcomed and have his homecoming celebrated.

If we believe that God created one human race, one human family, then even if some people think or act in ways that indicate that they want nothing to do with being part of that family, they don’t stop being our brothers or sisters, and we can’t hate them or cut them out of our hearts, concerns or prayers. We have to try, hard as it may be, to follow the example of the father (who stands for God), keeping a door open for those who have left and being willing to welcome them if and when, through God’s grace, they decide to come back.

  1. 2 Responses to “Fathers and Sons, Brothers and Sisters”

  2. By coca on Oct 5, 2013

    It is quite hard to believe that a young son decides to take off with no cause… What was missing in that family? The father’s love? Where is the mother?

    The older brother complains (maybe for the first time) that he never got the permission from his father to celebrate with his friends, even if the father insists that all his possession belonged to the older brother…
    So, how come the father does not realize that his older son was unhappy, even before the younger son came back? Celebration is part of life for a young person, and is a normal need; how come the father opposed it ?
    The needs of the older brother are not met by the father… so, why would the father expect his older son to be wiser than him?

  3. By Christian on Nov 11, 2013

    I think the point with the older son is that like most of us, he doesn’t think he needs his father’s forgiveness because he wrongly thinks he has nothing to be forgiven for. He’s wrong of course, but it’s easier to examine his brother’s conscience than his own.

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