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July 2019 - The Prodigal Son?

Last month I heard that a family member would be returning from New Zealand to visit and I jokingly remarked that we would kill the fatted calf... So what did that mean? Jesus tells a parable of two sons, one stays at home whilst the other brother leaves the family home and goes away to seek a better living. But when this son returns, after many years, his father is delighted to see him whilst the brother who stayed at home is not. The father is so pleased that he kills his most favourite calf, his prized possession, to prepare a feast and gives a big party to celebrate his return home.

Some would feel sorry for the son that was left behind, tending the family business. But the father sees past this, he is to be reunited with his son and rebukes the other for not celebrating this with him.

And what of the prodigal son himself? In Jesus’s parable he left his family behind seeking his fortune and fell on hard times - whether or not it was his fault he then sought to return home, in humility, or some may say humiliation, hoping for kindness from his family. He got far more than he expected.

We can see from this parable that this return to family is a time for being re-united, healed and forgiven. And isn’t this what being a Christian is all about? being part of a family - however widespread it might be - and being prepared to be humble, sharing time and our lives with others, whatever feelings of hurt or resentment we may have had in the past.

It is often said we can choose our friends, not our family. We need to look beyond past hurts and negative feelings and enjoy time together with family and friends with love in our hearts and outwardly seek to heal not just ourselves but those who are hurting too.


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