Affirmation and Re-Affirmation
A Teaching by Lory given at Yahweh Shalom on August 20, 2009
Subject: Parable of the Prodigal Son
August 20, 2009
“We are going to go over Luke 15, Verses 11-32, the parable of the Prodigal Son.
11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, ‘Your brother has come and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him! Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”
If you remember last week, I told you that the Lord had said that in the days remaining He would go back over the core of the messages, which is Faith, Hope, and Perseverance. It was Abba who actually gave me this about the Prodigal Son.
Usually in the sermons at church they dwell upon ‘the love and mercy of the Father, embracing the son,’ and ‘when we come back to God, we’re accepted,’ and this is as far as it usually goes. But I want to take you to the core of this parable as Abba showed me.
The son did ask for his inheritance and he did go and squander it, but when he found himself in dire straits, he did not become a thief or worse. He, with humility, said to himself, ‘I will return to my father,’ because what he is saying is that his father is good. Look how he treats everyone else. He is just. He will treat me, at least, as well as he treats his servants. So, with humility and faith in the father and trust in the goodness of the father he goes back, and, of course, the father forgives him with joy.
Now we’re going to go down a step deeper and look at the ‘good’ son. As long as everything was good, he was the ‘good’ son, but when he is called to persevere in goodness, he doesn’t; he has no humility. He turns on his father and says, basically, ‘How dare you!’ The inheritance doesn’t belong to him. It is coming as a gift from the father to the son. The father does not owe the son. Yet, in the son’s pride, he turns on his father and basically says, ‘How dare you treat me this way! Look how you treat this no-good brother of mine!’ Where was love for his brother? Where was humility before his father? Where was the good son? This son turned on his father and passed judgment on the father. The ‘bad’ son didn’t do that. And you notice at the end of this parable it doesn’t say that the ‘good’ son apologized. It is open-ended.
The ‘good’ son disobeyed his father and showed disrespect. He was angry because he was prideful, he had no charity toward his brother, and he had no charity toward his father! Because his father loved both of his sons equally and he was finding joy in the son coming back. So who is the good son?
The Lord brought to my mind, in the Our Father, it ends ‘do not subject us to the final test.* Will we be humble before God? Will we accept the Will of the Father and be grateful for what He gives to us? Will we be charitable? Love our Father, our brothers, our sisters? Or do we pass judgment on our brothers and sisters and upon God? And we do this without ever fully realizing we’re doing it. We talk about, and pass judgment on, one another without realizing we’re passing judgment on God Himself. How God wants to work is none of our business. What He does is always good; it’s not ours to question. And what we receive from Him is a pure gift and none of us merit anything that He gives to us. We must always be humble and grateful before every gift, and we should be humble and grateful for whatever is given to our brothers and sisters, whether we understand it or not. And that is basically the final test – can we bend our pride, our judgment, and be humble before God.
Why I’m bringing this to you now is we are entering the time of conversion when those that we have always considered as doing wrong may turn around and be far better, humble, good, merciful, than those who consider themselves followers of God. And we all fall into that trap. We say, ‘Okay, I go to the Sacraments, and I go to Mass every day, and I say my rosary, and I do this and I do that and now God is going to give to me. He doesn’t have to give you anything. Remember that today you may be in God’s grace, but you don’t know what you will be tomorrow. It’s very nice to say, like the Pharisee, ‘Lord, I don’t do this, I go to church, I tithe, I do this, I do that;’ but that’s Pride. He is the sinner. The one he condemns is the one who is humble before God, and we’ve got to remember always, always, always, if we are in a state of grace, it’s by God’s mercy and His help not by our strength. One day we may fall and fall hard, but we have to be like the ‘bad’ son and have the humility to immediately get up and run to the Father, because He is waiting. Not only is He waiting, He is moving toward you as soon as you make up your mind to move toward Him!
As things in the world progressively get worse, we all find ourselves in the situations we think we will never get in to. And through our life most of us have been in circumstances we thought we would never get in to; we managed to mess up royally. It could happen again. I told you conversion is a day-by-day process. Nobody is ever ‘converted’ until they’re dead. Then you stop working toward conversion. Always remember that you must be humble. Ask for the graces that you need. Depend on God. Trust in Him to be there for you, but if you mess up, run to Him!
Be there for those who may fail God and welcome back those who may have strayed. They may be much stronger than you are.
We have got to remember that Humility is that platform from which all other Virtues grow.
The Lord has gathered you here to learn, so that as you are walking through your days and people are in your lives, that your heart stays open; that you listen instead of judge. Trust in God to guide the people that are there, and trust Him to guide you. You are going to need to help people in many, many ways, but if you are locked into Pride and Judgment, you can’t help anybody. Always remember, the way you judge is the way God judges you.
That’s what the Lord wanted me to share with you today.”