The Unfinished Story of the Prodigal Son
The parable of the prodigal son is an unfinished story. We do not know what happened to the prodigal son afterwards; we are not told whether the elder son has forgiven the younger son; we do not know if the elder son joined the celebration; we do not know why the mother was not mentioned in the story. It is our own story and we have to finish the story in our own lives.
The peculiarity of Jesus comes out: Jesus being a friend of sinners. In the parable we see that the more we accept our own sinfulness, the more He approaches and comes to us. In human relations, we always want to hide our faults and sins because of fear of rejection. One’s confession of sin, like that of Peter, and the prodigal son does not change God’s plan for us.
The prodigal son asked for his inheritance. In the Hebrew context, the inheritance is asked only at the end of the father’s life. But the TENDERNESS of the Father surfaced…in spite of the implication that his son considered him as already dead.
The prodigal son was dissatisfied with home so he left home to live independently from the father. But later he was in trouble and discovered the hopelessness of his situation—wasted money, lost friends, no food to eat, in short, he was in crisis. But he accepted his own hopelessness. Moments of crisis are also moments of discovery. Experience of failures can also be converted into moments of grace and moments of conversion.
In his moments of crisis, he remembered his home and his father—that the future can still be better. The journey back home was a journey from foolishness to wisdom. Take note that it was the father who first saw the son. From the time the prodigal son left the father was already waiting for the son to come back. He approaches the son not minding the words of the son asking for forgiveness (Father forgive me for I have sinned. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Just treat me as one of your servants). Instead, the father accepted him back as a beloved son. The prodigal son was not a good model for conversion: he returned back home because he was hungry…the motive was imperfect… and yet the tenderness of the Father was there. Very often we return to God not because we have gotten rid of the vice but because of some other motives.
Then the welcome party. The elder son was not a happy son—he was not happy that the younger son was forgiven. Notice how anger can immobilize a person. But the father comes with humility and the older brother rejected the Father by calling him “YOU” Now the older son now asks for payment. There was no touch of humanity in the older son’
Did the story end there? Did the Father go back to the party alone? Was the older brother moved by the pleas of the father? Did the elder son enter the house? What could have happened if there was a mother in the parable?
We have to finish the story—in our life… in your life the story is still being told…. YOU and I AM TO END THE STORY….