Meditation 31st March 2019

The Deep End – The Elder Son
Sometimes we can be so familiar with a Gospel passage
we tend to switch off after the first few sentences. That
would be a shame, especially when the Gospel is one of
the great blockbuster parables. The real challenge in
today’s Gospel is what happens after the lost son returns.
The elder brother has ‘worked like a slave’ all those years
and is understandably upset. The Father’s welcome of
the younger son would have been considered extremely
foolish by those listening to this story. However, the
Father makes it clear that his outreach to the younger
brother will not change his love for the older brother. It
will cost the elder brother nothing to reach out. We have
nothing to lose in welcoming home the lost.
Today, we can try to place ourselves somewhere in
this narrative: where do you stand? This Gospel shows us
that God returns the lost to the community, regardless of
the boundaries that we might put in place. Jesus teaches
us a lesson in radical hospitality. No matter how far we
wander from home, God is still a loving God. The elder
brother has a choice: to come to the party or to sulk in the
corner. Luke, excellent story-teller that he is, leaves the
reader to decide the outcome.
‘God of love, show us our place in this
world as channels of your love for all the
creatures of this earth, for not one of
them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten
those who possess power … that they
may love the common good, advance
the weak, and care for this world in
which we live’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 246)

Jane Mellett