Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-3; 11-32
Meditation: What’s worst than being separated from your home, loved ones, and friends? The pain of separation can only be surpassed by the joy of the homecoming and reunion. This crossing over from a land of slavery and oppression to a land of promise and freedom is a sign that foreshadows the true freedom and homecoming which the Lord Jesus has won for us in his kingdom. Through his victory on the cross the Lord Jesus has delivered us from the dominion of sin and darkness and transferred us to his kingdom of light, truth, and forgiveness (Colossians 1:13-14). God offers this freedom to all who believe in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not desire the death of anyone (Ezekiel 18:23). That is why he sent us his only-begotten Son to set us free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death and to restore us to everlasting peace, joy, and abundant life with our Father in heaven.
Jesus illustrates this Passover from slavery to sin and condemnation to freedom and new life in Christ with the longest parable recorded in the Gospels (Luke 15:11-32). What is the main point of Jesus’ story about two ungrateful sons and their extravagant loving father? Is it the contrast between a grudging obedient son and a rebellious son who had wished his father was dead? Or the warm reception given to a spendthrift son and the cold reception given by the eldest son?
Jesus does contrast the eldest son’s cold and aloof reception for his errant brother with the father’s warm embrace and lavish homecoming party for his repentant son. While the errant son had wasted his father’s money, his father, nonetheless, maintained unbroken love for his son. The son, while he was away, learned a lot about himself. And he realized that his father had given him love which he had not returned. He had yet to learn about the depth of his father’s love for him.
His deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed on the husks of pigs and his reflection on all he had lost, led to his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father. While he hoped for reconciliation with his father, he could not have imagined a full restoration of relationship. The father did not need to speak words of forgiveness to his son; his actions spoke more loudly and clearly! The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet symbolize the new life – pure, worthy, and joyful – of every person who returns to God.