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March 10, 2012 is the Saturday of the Second Week of Lent. The reading is from Gospel of Luke15:1-3, 11-32.

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So to them he addressed this parable.

“… A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them.

After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need.

So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.

And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.

I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘

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.

His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’

But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’

Then the celebration began.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.

He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.

The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.

He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’

The story of the Prodigal Son, also known as the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke15:11-32), follows the parables of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4-7) and the Lost Coin ( Luke 15:9-10).

Let us meditate for a moment and ask ourselves “Who am I in this story?”

  • Am I the prodigal son who after rebelling against his father, coming to his senses repents, and returns to his father?
  • Or am I the obedient elder son who does not want to rejoice when his younger brother comes back to rejoin his father’s fold?
  • Or am I one of the servants in the father’s household, rejoicing with the father when his lost son finds his way home?

Hank Williams, Sr. » The Prodigal Son Lyrics

A Prodigal son once strayed from his father
To travel a land of hunger and pain
And now I can see the end of my journey
I’m going to heaven again.

I leave you the day, to help all your neighbors
I leave you the night, to solemnly pray
So try to repent and ask for forgiveness
We’ll meet up in heaven, someday.

Goodbye to this world, with all of its sorrows
Goodbye to the fields, that I used to roam
I’m going away where, life is eternal
My Shepherd is calling me home.

From out of the sky, He’s coming to meet me
To wash all my sins and call me His own
His servants will bring, a ring for my finger
And never no more will I roam.

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