The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother
From the Gospel according to Luke 15:11-32
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; 12 and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. 15 So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have fed on[a] the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[b] 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23 and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry. 25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
Footnotes: Luke 15:16 Other ancient authorities read filled his belly with Luke 15:21 Other ancient authorities add treat me as one of your hired servants Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
if our hearts are open
Many Catholics today, sadly, don’t know their baptismal faith very well. Such was it for me as a Cradle Catholic, until I began to mature in my faith in my thirties. Yet, by God’s design working in and through His church, the Holy Spirit is always at work in each one of us in mysterious ways through the sacramental power of our baptism.
We may not know what moves a fallen away Catholic to return home to their baptismal faith and to the church founded by Jesus Christ – the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church – the Catholic Church. However, when our hearts are open to the touch of God’s grace our lives can be transformed for all eternity.
For some, like St. Paul, as we hear in the Acts of the Apostles, this encounter can be so dramatic that it can blind us, only to have our eyes opened to the truth in new and unexpected ways. For others the encounter may be but a whisper, like a gentle breeze, almost imperceptible. Dramatic or gentle, an encounter is always life-changing.
God’s ways are not our ways. But if we allow ourselves – if our hearts our open – the Lord can change and transform us so that one day we can speak with love about the One who is love. Opening our heart is an invitation to God who yearns to be with His children like any loving father yearns to be with those he loves.
Our father in heaven wants us home. He wants you home. If you’ve been away from the Church for one day, or for a lifetime, come home. Your family misses you.
Catholics Come Home
Watch and share this short video, and take time this month to reach out to someone away from the Church to let them know you care, and to extend an invitation to come home.
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”
The Story of the Prodigal Son, Gospel of Luke (15:11-32)
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.