Saturday, February 27, 2016


Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, that dwells apart in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old; As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs.  Micah 7:14-15

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  Luke 15:1-3

Take from me, Father, all that keeps me from you.
I let go of my desire for security and survival.
I let go of my desire for esteem and affection.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire to change the situation.

Give to me, Jesus, all that leads me to your welcoming mercy.

Set me free, Holy Spirit, so that I might freely say “Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will, not mine.”

Rembrandt's The Prodigal
In selecting the reading for today, it is interesting that the Powers That Be skipped over two parables (the lost sheep and the lost coin) in order to focus on the Prodigal Son. Beyond the Christmas and Easter stories, the two scripture passages which I remember from my earliest days in CCD are the Garden of Eden, the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.

Living in a family with two sons (and one daughter) always made me wonder – which son would I be?  The son that got lost or the son who never lost his way?  The son who moved out or the son who stayed close? 

But, really, the Parable of the Prodigal Son is not really about either son.  The connecting tissue between all three parables in Luke 15 is the Seeker.  The shepherd seeking out the lost sheep.  The woman seeking out the lost coin.  The father seeking out the lost son.  The father seeking out the generous spirit of the older son who is lost in his own self-pity, bitterness and envy.  The lost son seeking his freedom.  The lost son seeking a reconciliation with the father.  The older son seeking the favor of his father.  

The son who moves away wants to come back as a hired hand but the father will not abide in that thought for even a nanosecond.  The son who stays resents the way the father welcomes home his brother.  Even though he has been physically (or geographically) closer to the father, none of the father’s character or mercy has yet to rub off on him.

The reality presents itself when both sons seek a better relationship with their merciful father.

Welcome is the operative word in this story.  When the son sought his inheritance, the father welcomed the request.  When the son sought to return, the father welcomed him home in order to develop a closer relationship with him.  When the other son was angry, the father welcomed the expression of those emotions in order to overcome the bitterness and jealousy and get past those obstacles in order to develop a closer relationship with him, as well.

The generous shepherd who feeds his flock in the Hebrew Bible makes his way into the heart of Jesus’ preaching-teaching.  In doing so, he seeks his way forward into our hearts.

For two people to find each other, BOTH have to be looking for the other one.  At first, the two sons are looking after their own interests.  One is a slave to his ambition.  The other is a slave to his obligation.  Neither are looking for a relationship with the generous father who is always seeking the best for both his sons.

The Seeking Father shows us the wonderful power of welcoming mercy to melt the selfish hearts of both of his sons and draw them closer to dwell with him AGAIN.  As they dwell with him in the future after this story, the story reveals that they have both learned a powerful lesson by seeking a better relationship with the father who was eternally seeking to be closer to both of them.

How is the Seeking Father welcoming you this season? 

Where are YOU in the parable of the Prodigal Seeker?

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