A father celebrates his son's return
One day, tax collectors and sinners gathered around Jesus to hear him speak. The Pharisees and scribes were disgusted.
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them," they sneered.
Jesus overheard them and decided to tell the parable of the lost son.
There was a man who had two sons, Jesus told the crowd.
The younger son wanted to leave home, so he asked to be given his share of his father's estate. The father did so, and the younger son set off for a distant country.
The younger son squandered all of his money. Afterward, a famine struck the country, and he could not afford to support himself.
He found work tending swine for a local farmer. He was so hungry that he was tempted to eat the pigs' food.
Suddenly, the younger son came to his senses.
"How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger," he said to himself.
The younger son decided to return home. He planned to admit his sinfulness to his father.
While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him coming home and ran to embrace and kiss 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," the younger son said.
Instead, the father told his servants to bring a fine robe, sandals and a ring for his son.
"Take the fattened calf and slaughter it," the father ordered. "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."
The older son, who always had done everything his father had asked, was angry that his wayward brother was being celebrated.
“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours," the father said to his older son. "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."
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. What did the younger son want from his father?
2. Why was the father excited to see the younger son return home?
ESSAY: When have you asked someone to forgive you for poor choices or bad behavior?
In Luke 15, Jesus told the crowd two more parables about lost things.
In verses 8-10, he told of a woman who lost one of 10 coins. He said that she surely would light a lamp and sweep the house carefully until she found it.
"And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost,'" Jesus said. "In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
And in verses 1-7, Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep.
"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the 99 in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?" Jesus asked. "And when he does find it ... he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'"
"I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance," he said.
St. Nicholas Owen was born in England in 1550. He became a lay Jesuit brother in 1597.
In the late 1500s in England, Catholic clergy and laypeople began to be persecuted by the government. During the persecution, Nicholas traveled with the Jesuit provincial and stayed in the homes of Catholics who refused to obey a law requiring them to attend the Anglican Church of England. In these homes, Nicholas saved the lives of many persecuted priests by creating hiding places for them.
Nicholas eventually gave himself up to protect other Jesuits. Although he was tortured, he never revealed the location of his brothers.
Nicholas died in 1606, and we honor him on March 22.
Below are sentences about another lost son, Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob). Put a T next to the sentences about Joseph that are true and an F next to the ones that are false. Hints from Genesis 37 have been provided.
___ 1. Joseph was Israel's favorite son. (verse 3)
___ 2. Joseph's brothers hated him because of his dreams and the bad reports he made about his brothers. (verses 2 & 8)
___ 3. All of Joseph's brothers agreed to kill him. (verses 20-22)
___ 4. Joseph's brothers let Israel believe Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. (verses 28-33)
Answers: 1. T; 2. T; 3. F; 4. T