Father Rodney Torbic

January 22 / February 4, 2018

The Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. (KJV)

The preparation for Great Lent continues with this Gospel. The immeasurable love of the father for his sons is clearly demonstrated. Parental love for their sons and daughters is a Christian expectation.

Sons and daughters experiencing the love of Christian parents remember this love and benefit from it. Sons and daughters do not always take healthy paths in life even though they were raised in loving Christian homes.

Love always brings benefits. “Love never fails.” (I Cor. 13:8). Sons and daughters making bad choices in their youthful years may mature and become responsible adults due to the initial and consistent love of the parents.

Each son and daughter is unique. The present Gospel shows the difference between two sons in the same home. The father loved both sons. The younger son wanted his portion of goods due to him. His father obliged him.

The younger son must have felt he was capable of making his own decisions and assuming responsibility for himself. He was seeking and asserting his independence.

Sons and daughters reaching adulthood often seek to go off from the family home to seek their own way in the world. Many maintain connections with the family. Some do not. The separations are not always easy or pleasant.

Parents may want to protect their sons and daughters from the hardships of the world. Sons and daughters may feel sufficiency in being prepared to deal with the difficulties of daily life.

The younger son went to a far county. He engaged in irresponsible ways and wasted his possessions. The younger son received possessions from his father and may not have understood the difficulty required to accumulate those possessions.

The son received them freely and squandered them freely. Sons and daughters do not always know the sacrifices made by parents. Time and maturity of years may be necessary before sons and daughters appreciate parental love and sacrifice.

The current Gospel is read in the churches every year. This is a lesson about God’s immeasurable love as much as it is a lesson about the love of a father toward his sons.

Individuals often take the love of God for granted and do not live in the most responsible ways as Christians. Too often sin can be blatant and widespread in society. Society may even give legal assent to practices inducing sinful behavior.

Too often society seems to undermine Christian tenets and embrace social ills. The younger son was shortsighted and did not prepare himself for the time of famine. He had left the security of his home to make his way in the world.

He was not attentive to his possessions or the future. We are reminded to tend to each day in preparation for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded not to squander the precious time of life.

We are reminded to make good use of each day and use the blessings given by God as investments in the Kingdom of God. The young son needed the security of being connected with a person in a more secure position.

He connected with a person that gave him work feeding swine. It was not a glamorous position and certainly not what he had in mind when he left home. Many sons and daughters leave home intending to do well in the world.

The hardships faced in the world are not always known in advance. Many sons and daughters leave home without the adequate preparations necessary to begin life anew in a different community,

Many individuals give up on God or on the local parish church when they are young. Too many sons or daughters drop out of school or quit a job at a young age. They may leave home under less than desirable circumstances.

The young son in this situation was facing a poverty type existence. Many people giving up on God and the Church at a young age find that life without God and without the Church is not satisfying and can be extremely difficult.

Life within the Church involves the Cross and the pain of the Cross. The difference of being in the Church is that Christ is present to help each individual with his or her cross.

Eventually the wayward son returned to his loving father. He was received with love and celebration. Every person departing from the life in Christ and choosing to return is welcomed with the healing love and embrace of Jesus Christ.

January 22 / February 4, 2018.
No. 13. The Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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