FAITH
The prodigal at heart
by Rev. Dr. Lourdino A. Yuzon

In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus told a story about two prodigal sons. The sin of the younger son was a sin of self-will. It led him to a far country where he wasted his inherited money in immoral living. He also lost his dignity. He loathed himself but did not end there. He repented of his sins and decided to go home. He expected to be received only as a hired servant. To his surprise, his father joyously welcomed him as his son.

The elder brother did not leave his fatherís home. But he had a wall that separated him from his father and younger brother. His sins were more subtle. It took the form of self- pity, resentment and self-righteousness. He stayed at home but was very unhappy. He hated his father who seemed to favor his younger brother. He took offense for his fatherís lack of concern for him despite his years of service. He was jealous with the glamorous and care-free life of his younger brother in a faraway land. He became more jealous when his father joyfully welcomedhis runaway prodigal brother. He sulked and refused to join the party that celebrated the renewed life of his brother. He considered himself as his fatherís model son. Outwardly, his conduct looked admirable. Inwardly, he made himself the measure of what he thought his brother ought to be and do.

The younger, runaway son was prodigal in body; but his heart was partly at home. In contrast, the elder brother was prodigal at heart. Only his body was at home, but his heart was absent.

What did the brothers stand for? I personally know the stay-at-home prodigal son. He is me; or I am that elder brother. Everytime I judge others because they do not think and behave as I do, I am that prodigal at heart. Every time I think that others are morally inferior to me, I am that prodigal at heart. Everytime I consider myself more spiritual and more holy than others, I am that prodigal at heart. Everytime misfortunes happen to good people like me and spare others who, I think, are more evil, I am that prodigal at heart.

Whether we are runaway or stay-at-home prodigals, we are sinners, deserving of Godís judgement. But the God we have come to know in Jesus is a loving God. He welcomes the repentant and returning prodigal son. Neither does God disown the proud, resentful and judgemental stay-at- home prodigal. God takes the initiative in the process that could lead us to accepting his forgiving love.

God ďlavishes this generosity on the son who was lost outside the household and on the son who was lost.


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