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.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’ Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Today, I turn 36. Yeah, that is a new class for me.. a new check box on most forms, a new category for all the pollsters in the world. I am officially out of the class of people that companies try to sell stuff to….. yep, I have turned the corner in life today, and guess what… I am actually o.k. with it.
I woke up this morning, and the first thing I read, after giving kisses to my wife and kids, was today’s reading. The story of the Prodigal Son. How fitting, one of my favorite stories in the Bible. It is my favorite, because, in part it is from one of my favorite books of the Bible, St. Luke (I mean, the name is awesome, and the writing is just spectacular), but also because this is a real story of hope. I mean, the father in this story is just happy that his son has come home. I know that, just like this story, when I reach my final resting place, my Father, we are going to party just like this.
I know that I have my faults. Lots of them. They show through all the time. There are things that I know I shouldn’t do, like curse the guy who cut me off on the way into work, or mumble under my breath when I don’t want to do something, but I also have the peace of mind, knowing that if I just go back to God, he will forgive me and be happy, just like this in this story. I know he will help me learn to be patient with the other drivers on the road, and I know that he will help me to understand why I should be gracious when doing things in life.
I am very fortunate to see another year, another trip around the sun. I know that this year is going to be a great year, and I am glad that I can share some of my thoughts with the world. I also know that things happen for a reason, and to have one of my favorite stories being read on my birthday is no accident. I know that the Holy Spirit is working, all the time, and everywhere. Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes and made today awesome!