246 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated
A Paraphrasing of the Parable of the Prodigal Son
(Also Known as the Parable of the Forgiving Father:
A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, “Father, give me
my inheritance now.” The father agreed, giving his son the inheritance
that was due to him. Upon receiving it, the son traveled to a foreign
country, where he wasted his money on sinful pleasures. Totally broke,
he found himself in a land facing its own financial woes because of a
famine. A swineherd gave him a job taking care of the pigs. So small
were his wages that he could not buy enough food to feed himself. He
yearned to eat the food given to the pigs but was not allowed to.
Hitting rock bottom, he came to his senses, realizing that his father’s
workers had plenty to eat while he was starving. He decided to go home,
apologize to his father and to God for his sins, declare that he was
unworthy to be called his father’s son, and ask for a job on the estate.
Meanwhile, the father sorely missed his young son. Each day he
stood on a hill, peering into the distance, aching to see his son and hop-
ing he would come home. Then one day he saw his son coming toward
him. He ran to his son, hugged and kissed him, and praised God for his
son’s return. With tears of joy and much embracing, the father smoth-
ered the repentant words of his son.
The father jubilantly called out to his servants to clothe his son in
the best robe and to put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
He ordered the fattened calf to be slain and roasted for a feast. Why?
“Because this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was
lost and has been found” (Lk 15:24).
The older son heard the excitement and asked what it was about.
When he heard the reason, he was furious. Pouting, he refused even to
enter the house. The father came out and pleaded with him to come
inside and celebrate the homecoming of his younger brother. The older
son argued that his younger brother did not deserve this party. He had
wasted his inheritance.Why should he who had been the good and faith-
ful son—and never had a party like this given in his honor—be humili-