the prodigal son

June 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

I sit reading The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen writes that He finds abit of himself in all 3 characters– the younger son, the elder son and the father. He is like the younger son, because sometimes he “lives as though I do not have a home and must look far and wide to find one”. These words spoke out to me. I look for the perfect friend as if I didn’t have Jesus. I look for the perfect mother and father in my parents, as if I didn’t have a Father and Mother already. The elder son is no better. Outwardly, he is at home. But inside, he is just as lost. He complains that he didn’t receive what he was due. I also see myself in him. Outwardly, I don’t do horrible things…but inside, sometimes I complain that God is not present enough. I don’t feel like the child of God sometimes.

It may be easy to identify with both the younger and elder son. How about the father? Nouwen’s friend suggests that no matter how much he saw himself in the sons, he was called to be the father– to love without asking for love in return, to give himself for others…

How does that happen? I’m thinking, the sons must first recognise that they’re children of God. To do this, the younger son had to search far and wide in vain and finally come to the bedrock of his identity–that he is his father’s son, and the elder son has to overcome his resentment and see that his father loves him just as He loves his younger brother. When they are open to receiving God’s love as His children, then they will be ready to share His love too and become more like Him.


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