Luke’s Gospel gives us the precious story popularly called “The Prodigal Son,” although the true central figure is the Loving Father, who has two sons. No single story told by Jesus may have been able to so succinctly summarize his entire ministry. He tells it to explain himself to the “Elder Sons” of Israel, the religious leaders who disapprove of his search and welcome given to obvious sinners. How wonderful to see the heart of God revealed as wanting to gather everyone, the “not quite so good as they think” and the “bad” alike, into His feast!
Saint Paul teaches the content of the “Prodigal Son” in his call to the Corinthians to be reconciled to God, a new creation in Christ. In Christ, we see a God who wants to reconcile (bring into his life and fully restore) all the people of our world. So it’s important that we leave behind human categories that separate and judge people, and take the view of God in Christ.
In the reading from Joshua, we come to the moment when the people of Israel end forty years of wandering in the wilderness. They have crossed the Jordan river to enter the land promised to Abraham and keep the Passover meal in remembrance of their deliverance from Eqypt. So it is that the “prodigal nation” that had rebelled and wandered so long now comes home into the feast prepared for them by the Lord.
Comment: The saying is often true that “we are our own worst enemies.” It is terribly easy for me to lose sight of God’s good and loving heart. Sometimes I run after my own desires to my own loss, and other times simply refuse the way God shows me. Other times I find myself criticizing and judging other people as unworthy or inadequate in some way. In each case, I keep myself out of the feast of knowing and sharing in God’s desire to seek and gather all. O Amazing Grace that gathers me, may I see with your eyes, and love with your heart!David S. Robinson, RectorSaint Matthew’s Episcopal ChurchMaple Glen, PA 19002