Sunday, March 6, 2016


All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So Jesus told them this parable:
"There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands."' So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe--the best one--and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.
"Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.' Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, 'Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!' Then the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'" Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

I was thinking back to a time when I ran away from home. I was a teenager, full of angst and fury, feeling misunderstood and ignored. It was summer and we were back in New York. All I wanted was to be by the ocean and my friends. I didn't get very far, had really no money and finally, after many torturous hours I called home from a pay phone. They were happy to come get me, overjoyed that I was safe and alive. I never felt so foolish and shallow in all my life.

I imagine, in the story of the prodigal son, we preach about God's love in the father, running to meet his child, crying, and planning a big celebration. We forget the other prodigal, the other brother, who, despite his "good" behavior, is still angry and jealous. He wants equal treatment despite the fact that he has everything. All of us wander away from God's love, some physically and others who stay in place and fume. The good news is that God's love is always ready to welcome us back, always running down the road towards us with open arms.

Today, I ask God to help me turn around and return. May we all let go of our pride and stubbornness, so that we might be enveloped by the loving arms of our loving Creator. May our eyes see the abundant blessings we have, and as we are rooted in that love, share with joy the love we have been given.


The Collect

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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