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TALK ON THE READINGS FOR

SUNDAY OF THE PRODIGAL SON

        12th FEBRUARY 2009

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Last Sunday saw the beginning of our entrance into the period known as the Triodion: the service book which will take us up to the midnight service of Holy and Great Saturday, just before the start of the Resurrection service. The period of the Triodion is a period of abstinence, temperance and self-restraint: a time for increased spiritual warfare with the purpose of purifying both the soul and body. The main thing that puts a stop to self-restraint and desecrates the spiritual purity of a Christian are the so called carnal sins and in particular fornication. That is why the Church, wanting to protect her children from the carnal passions and to help them preserve their spiritual purity, has chosen for this Sunday two particularly instructive readings. The Gospel reading which narrates the wonderful parable of the Prodigal Son which presents us with a vivid example of the youngest of two sons who left his father’s home and rebelled against his father’s will. This tragic young man wasted his substance with riotous living and devoured his living with harlots. These simple references by St. Luke the Evangelist are enough to show that an unchaste life can lead and enslave a man in the carnal passions and in particular in fornication. We find that the Apostle reading for this Sunday also corresponds to these facts from the Gospel reading. The reading is taken from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. By using a series of arguments, St. Paul underlines the seriousness of fornication as a sin and at the same time stresses the sanctity of the human body. Let’s therefore hear the reading:

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

“Brethren, all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”


12) “Brethren, all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
The phrase “all things are lawful unto me” seems to have been a kind of saying which circulated among the Corinthians or more probably a well known saying by St. Paul which the Christians of Corinth had misinterpreted. St. Paul begins with the freedom a Christian has concerning food or other natural things. By certifying this freedom in all things concerning the use of food, Paul puts forth two requirements that a Christian must take into account. Firstly, that his freedom should not harm his interests. This is what he means when he says “but all things are not expedient”. The fact that we have the power and authority to do something does not mean that it is always in our interest to do so. A Christian owes it to himself to always act with the utmost discretion and to make proper use of the freedom given him by Christ. We can say that St. Paul’s phrase “but all things are not expedient” summarises completely Paul’s understanding of ethics. The question of what is permissible and what is forbidden is replaced with the conscious awareness of what is in the interest and what is not for the Christian’s new life: the Christian who has been born of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, from being free and lord of himself, he should beware not to become enslaved by the use of things he is allowed. “I will not be brought under the power of any” stresses St. Paul. Very often the uncalculated use of something leads to misuse and abuse, and the freedom we have is transformed into bonds and slavery and in the majority of cases it happens without us even realising or being aware of what has happened. St. John Chrysostom says: “You are free to eat. Well, remain free and beware not to become a slave to that passion”.
13) “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”
To explain what he has just endorsed in the previous verse, Paul now underlines the physical purpose which food and the belly serve. Food is destined for man’s belly just as the belly is destined to receive the food. In other words it is the mechanism that works to preserve man’s biological existence for as long as his earthly life exists. After this present life, food and the belly are useless. With the General Resurrection, God will abolish food and the belly, because there will be no more use for them. Paul’s position on the importance of food which he had taught to the Corinthians seems to have been taken by some and extended and applied to man’s sexual life and in particular the relationship between man’s body and fornication. In other words they believed that this relationship could be seen as something completely physical and necessary just as the relationship between food and the belly. And as God would abolish during the Resurrection the belly and food so also would he abolish the body and fornication. Thus their argument is saying that as long as this present life exists, the belly can receive food and so also can the body fornicate. This terrible misconception of the Corinthians is what St. Paul will try to resolve with what he has to say in continuance.

The first thing he stresses is the difference that exists between the destiny of the belly and the body. The belly is destined to receive food as long as it is in this world, but in the future world it will be abolished. In contrast, man’s body is destined not for fornication but for the Lord. St. John Chrysostom interpreting this passage says: “The body was not created to live recklessly and to fornicate, but to have Christ as its head.” The body belongs to the Lord, just as the Lord is for the body. It is the Lord’s dwelling place. By joining himself to the human body by becoming a man, Christ established a permanent and eternal relationship with it, which dictates to the Christian a completely new teaching concerning his body, a teaching completely different from that which the pre-Christian world received. We have to clarify that the term “body” used here by St. Paul does not denote a part of man, but the complete man. The belly is just one organ, whereas the “body” is the human entity.
14) “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.”
The second argument that Paul stresses is the expectation of the Resurrection. Christ, with his incarnation took upon himself the human nature completely, thus a body also. This body of Christ which died upon the Cross and was buried, God raised from the dead. Therefore in the same way God raised the Lord “by his own power” he will also raise us when the time of the resurrection comes. If we are members of Christ, which we are, then, as Christ who is the head was raised, so also will the rest of the body be raised. Thus, the outcome of Paul’s argument is that if our bodies are to be raised and will not be abolished as the belly, then we are obligated not to give them over to fornication.
15) Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.”
Between the Lord and the bodies of the faithful exists, as we have already seen in verse 13, a close bond. Paul again returns to this unity and analyses it deeper and thus builds another argument to show how uncompromising is the association of Christians with fornication. The faithful, in other words the bodies, are members of the body of Christ. Here it is very clear that what Paul means by bodies is the complete man. We were renewed with Baptism which freed us from the power of the devil and the tyrannical influence of sin, and joined to Christ, making us members of his own body. Belonging to the body of Christ, and partaking of the divine life already in this present world, we strive for our sanctification. Thus when we have such a relationship and cohesion with Christ, when we are members of his body, how is it possible for us to want to make the members of Christ members of a harlot. Paul’s question is truly shocking and that is why he quickly adds “God forbid”. In fact this is an English expression and not an exact translation of the Greek text, but it stresses the same meaning. The Greek text says “Μὴ γένοιτο” which means “Let it not be so.”
16-17) “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
The argument against fornication which St. Paul now puts forth is based on the unity which comes about between the person fornicating and the harlot with whom he has come together with. Fornication is unacceptable for the Christian because the union that comes about from this relationship, in other words the doer with the harlot become one body, is in complete opposition to the fact that the body of a Christian belongs to Christ, of whom he is a member. Thus there is a total contradiction between the relationship of a Christian with Christ and the relationship which comes about through the act of fornication. For the foundation of his argument that sexual intercourse with a harlot means that the two become one man “one flesh” Paul reverts to Holy Scripture and to the Book of Genesis where it says “for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” and was there said to show the union of the lawful marriage which God established in the Garden of Eden. But this phrase “for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” is now used by Paul for the unlawful union.

Here we could say that the argument presupposes that the marital union between Christians should lead them to union with Christ. If the person who joins himself to a harlot becomes with her one body, the person who joins himself to Christ becomes one spirit with him. One would have expected as very natural for Paul, who so strongly insists on the physical realization of the union with Christ and in contrast to the union with the harlot for him to say “one body “ also for the union of the Christian with Christ, but he says instead “One spirit”. He has been talking about sexual union and wants to exclude and avoid any possible misunderstandings among his readers. Thus, the person who joins himself to Christ becomes “one spirit with him. He partakes of the Spirit of Christ. He lives the life of Christ which is at the same time life in the Spirit. He becomes spiritual with the understanding that within him dwells the Spirit which guides and strengthens him in his new life.
18) “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”.
Paul now puts forth another argument. He begins with a strong warning to flee fornication. The depth of the sin he is about to immediately mention makes him want to warn beforehand with insistence to avoid it at all cost. Every sin that man commits “is without the body”. This declaration by Paul of course doesn’t want to say that whatever other sins other that fornication have no bearings on the human body. Paul simply sees for a moment the other sins that are committed as being “without the body”, because his aim is to show how frightful are the consequences of fornication for him who commits it “he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”. He doesn’t mention God or the harlot who are also effected by the sin in question. This is not because these perspectives of the sin do not interest Paul, but because he wants to stress the harm that exists for the person fornicating. As a rule, the harmful consequences more or less of all sins harm others more than the person who performs the sin. But he who commits the sin of fornication harms his own body.
19) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
The way in which Paul writes persuades us that as he unfolds more on the subject of fornication that this teaching is not unknown to the Corinthians. He probably taught them in person when he passed through their city and then having heard that they misinterpreted his teaching decided to put this right by writing to them. This seems fairly clear with verse 19 which is presented, as were some of the previous verses, as a form of question and which begins with the phrase “What don’t you know”. He seems to be telling them that they should know because he has already explained to them at some other time the relationship of the body with the Holy Spirit.
The argument that Paul presents here is that the body of Christians is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Inside them dwells the Spirit which they received from God and because of this indwelling of the Spirit their bodies does no longer belong to them “ye are not your own” says the Apostle. The great honour that God bestows upon man is truly unimaginable. He doesn’t just bless him of just visits him, but renders the human body the temple and dwelling place of his Spirit. Truly then, as temples of the Holy Spirit, Christians do no longer belong to themselves and consequently cannot give up their bodies to fornication. They belong to God and to the Spirit that dwells in them. Thus they are obliged to preserve the temple of the Spirit clean and spotless, dedicated exclusively to God.
20) “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Justifying even further why the bodies of Christians do not belong to themselves, Paul writes “For ye are bought with a price”. Christians do not belong to themselves because God has purchased them. They were once prisoners of the devil. From their slavery they were led to freedom and became sons of God though the payment of a price. The price that was paid was the Blood of Christ. Being beforehand enslaved by the devil, now their ransom has been paid by Christ with the priceless cost of his own blood.
The final exhortation which Paul addresses to the Corinthians is to “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit”. The debt Christians owes for what Christ has done to purchase their freedom, is not only to avoid fornication and to preserve their bodies undefiled. With their effort they are also called to make their bodies a place where God is glorified. Thus if the human body and of course the human spirit is a temple of the Holy Spirit, in this temple we are obliged to offer worship to God. It is the same as what Paul has said elsewhere: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”. (Romans 12:1)

 

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With Christ’s preaching, many things, in the world changed. With many things the Christian teaching influenced a change and brought about a rebirth. One such change happened with the theory of man’s body. The views of the pre-Christian world are well known: they elavated the soul and depreciated the body. They supported that man’s substance was found mainly in the soul. The body was just the prison and the tomb of the soul. The remaining of the soul in the body was a prison sentence. Under such a theory the soul is in complete opposition to the body. To these kinds of viewpoints, the Gospel brought a new understanding. Christian anthropology offers a completely different theory concerning man’s body.
Our body, says St. Paul, belongs to God; and even though death will dissolve it, with the power of God it will be raised again, just as was the body of the Lord. It is still a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. This union with Jesus and the presence of the Spirit in the human body constitutes the guarantee and the possibility for us to live the life in Christ and for our bodies to be transformed and become incorruptible. With this new theory or teaching on the body it is natural for the Christian to feel an obligation to avoid any kind of sin which diverts the body from its high destination. Such a sin is fornication. Paul’s arguments which are a result of the Christian understanding of the body are firm and unshakable. Since the body is not ours, but belongs to the Lord; since the body is a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is frightful and a very heavy sin for us to transform this highly honoured body into a member of a harlot: to dishonour it in muddy sin.
But Paul does not stop here; he urges us to make our bodies a place where we glorify God. He calls us to reveal it as a vessel holy and sanctified. What we call salvation and sanctification does not belong only to the soul but also to the body. Man is saved completely, that is both the soul and the body. Together as one unit is man saved and with a united struggle he achieves this. The soul struggles and the body co-struggles with the soul. When this happens then we truly glorify God in our body and in our spirit.
That ends our interpretation of the Apostle reading let’s now hear the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday. It is the very moving story of the Prodigal Son. The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

Luke 15:11-32

“The Lord said this parable: A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
W
ith the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Lords want to reveal to us the wealth of his love for man and to show the story of mankind which is represented by the two sons. The younger son leaves the paternal home and becomes prodigal, in other words reckless, but he is then humbled and repents for what he did and enjoys the love and mercy of the Father. The other son, the older of the two, appears to be near the Father, but in reality is very distant from him, because he envies his brother, he doesn’t obey the Father and insists on doing his own will which in the end deprives him of the fathers banquet. Let’s then take a deeper look at the parable.
The man which the parable speaks of is God who, wanting to show his love for mankind, took upon himself the human nature and became a man so that we could become gods. With the two sons he wants to show the qualities of the father; his very strong paternal love, which knows how to embrace, to kiss, to accept and to forgive sinners. From this father the younger son asks to be given his share of the inheritance. What is this inheritance? They are the divine graces which the father has granted us so that we can be like him. It is our very existence, the earth which God took and the breathe that he breathed into it, the grace of the Holy Spirit which he placed in us, the spiritual part of our existence, to give life to the material part of our nature. To give enlightenment to the mind that governs and the other powers, our thoughts, our wisdom, our will and desires to guide them upwards to heaven. It is the possibility to reveal our lives with love and communion with God and other human beings according to the image of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Thus man is both material and spirit, earthly and heavenly. He was created to be united and inseparable and to live and exist as a god-man: to be the image and glory of God. Each separation of the divine from the human is a rejection of the relationship with God, it divides and breaks man to pieces and brings about his death. This is the substance which God has granted us and which the younger son asked of God to divide into two; to divide the divine from the human.
The journey of the younger son is the journey of the fallen man, a journey towards death, to a real hell, because it is a journey of rejection and abandonment of God. It begins from the moment where the younger son asks to leave the paternal home and the presence of his father. And when we say to leave, it doesn’t mean to leave to another place, but to another way of life: to not be under the guardianship of God and without having to observe his commandments, which are life. The younger son believed that he could by himself become a god. He thought he was capable of everything. He made bad use of the divine grace of independence, of the freedom that God granted us so that we can choose a way of life with him of without him.
That is why God the Father doesn’t try to stop his son from leaving, because he gave him that freedom and also because he doesn’t want near him people who don’t love him and who think that they don’t need him. He leaves them to mature in their own time, to understand their inadequacy, to test and experience their freedom and by themselves to return.
So the Prodigal Son, the fallen man, gathers everything, the divine graces, the substance of the father, and departs from God’s way of life, from the personal relationship with him and begins a different life without God. He is now interested in living a biological life, and to satisfy the desires of his material existence. By abandoning God, the sinful passions now take his place. These now govern and direct him and he becomes enslaved to them. His substance, the graces which God gave him, are scattered and wasted on the various passions so that he can enjoy the pleasures of sin. But the pleasures are only momentarily and don’t last. As soon as man partakes of these temporary pleasures they are gone and he desires more. The devil doesn’t allow complete fullness and satisfaction so that man does not stop sinning. It is a reward of the demons when man is enslaved to them. It is the death of the soul resulting from the absence of God.

The Gospel reading talks about a great famine and the Prodigal being in great want. This is a spiritual hunger brought about by being deprived of God. All the foods that satisfy the body are like husks that the swine eat if the “Bread of Life” is absent. The body is nourished but the soul dies of starvation and then follows the decay and death of the body. Because the sensual life does not satisfy man, he feels the hunger and the bereavement of being deprived of God and having wasted the divine graces. Nothing remains of the spiritual and divine. His deprivation, his loss, is complete. The Greek word for prodigal is άσωτος which not only means someone who leads a reckless life but also someone who is deprived of salvation ά-σωτος. Deprived of God and the relationship with him, deprived of the blessing to love and be loved, his life, his whole nature is black and destitute.
No one can replace the emptiness of God. Without God he is only flesh that decays and dies. He becomes similar to the animals and more rather like the pigs in the story. His life has because a pig’s life, in other words full of passions and unclean. To this he was prompted by the citizens of the country that were far away from God, in other words the demons. To this place is lead the man who sees the Lord’s yoke as heavy. He becomes subject to the yoke of the passions and falls to the level of an animal. His glory and his honour which God had granted him have been taken away by the swine.
After realizing his fall and his failure to enjoy life as he had visioned and planned, the Prodigal Son “came to himself” that is he came to his senses. It follows then that when he acted as he did he was “outside of himself” or out of his senses. The realization of our fall is a precondition for our repentance.
The beginning of repentance is mourning and regret. It is the beginning of salvation. Now the Prodigal son begins to understand that his disposition to be at a distance from his father was the counteraction of his carnal nature to not be subject to God and his will. Because he gave in to his self-ruling material and earthly nature, he was enslaved by it and reached as far as hell. Now that he was dead and lost, he begins to understand the cost of his departure and dissociation from God the father. His only salvation is “I will arise and go to my father”. No matter how far he sank into debauchery and a reckless life, no matter that he was living in hell, inside him the image of his father was never ever destroyed. His thirst to return o the father was a leftover of the original way of life he had with love and communion with the father.
The feeling that he had a father became his salvation. When he had abandoned him he called him father and now that he is to return again he calls him father. So the Prodigal arises from his fall and returns to his father.
Now the father seems excessively compassionate. With his silent love he awaits with great patience until his return. And seeing him still a long way off, runs and completely embraces him and kisses him to show him that he is welcomed and accepted, not as a servant, but as a son. With his kiss he purifies him and sanctifies him.
In spite of the fathers love, the Prodigal, who is now saved, confesses he sin: “I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” It is as though he is saying; “I am to blame for everything.” He doesn’t throw the blame on his father whom he originally thought had him follow strict rules and because he felt pressured decided to leave. He now believes that he alone was guilty and avoids making excuses to justify himself. The father’s commandments now seem as an easy and light burden.
The father re-establishes him to his original position as a son and dresses him with the original robe. The English text says the “best robe” which is in fact a wrong translation. In Greek it is (την πρώτη στολή) the first robe or the original robe which properly interpreted means the first body that Adam had before the fall with the divine graces befit for a son. He does not make him a servant, but a beloved son. He offers him a ring on his hand which is the betrothal of the future life and the kingdom and is a sign that he begins again his relationship with the heavenly bridegroom. The ring also signifies his reinstatement as a son and heir because rings were worn by free men, by lords and masters, by someone with authority and power and not by servants.
If the beginning of repentance is mourning and regret, the end is the reinstatement to the paternal home. A new life begins of love and communion with God and other men according to the image of the Holy Trinity. Man is now a partaker of the life of Christ. The shoes on his feet signify the return of the Spiritual graces of Baptism, the spiritual wealth and power of a son and heir because servants had to go barefooted. They also represent the authority to preach the Gospel, because a Christian is he who is of benefit to his neighbour. It is also the power to step upon snakes and scorpions, in other words upon Satan. And being given all these gifts, the Prodigal Son is given the greatest of all gifts: “the fatted calf”, the Body and Blood of Christ, who was sacrificed to give us life. Now he is delivered from the famine and starvation because he will be nourished with the “Fatted Calf”, who “being ever eaten, never is consumed; But sanctifieth them that partake thereof”. It is the food and sustenance for all who remain in the father’s house.
The Criterion which the Parable gives us to analyse the two sons, who represent all of us, is the beloved relationship with our Father which is in heaven and with each and every man who is our brother. Can we love God the Father with all our being and can we receive within us every man without exceptions? This is what will save us.
The younger son reached the point of death, because he wounded and rejected this relationship. He returned to life when he repented, confessed and re-established his relationship with his father. The older son outwardly appeared to have preserved his relationship with the father, but in reality it was non-existent. As it tells us in the Parable, when his brother returned he was in the fields and when he came close to the house and was informed of the great joy in the house he became angry “and would not go in”. If he was a true son of the father, who is all-embracing love, if he was the image of the father then he should have been happy and should have expressed his love also. But he didn’t do it because inside him were passions secretly hiding until a moment when they could manifest themselves. Inside him were the passions of jealousy, of hatred and pride. These confused his spirit and clouded his reasoning. He loved only himself and thought of himself as righteous, incapable of making a mistake. What was missing in him was humility. His father rejoiced at the wellbeing of his son but he was angry and desired that he should be punished; he would have taken great joy so see his father send away his younger brother. Thus in reality he was not in communion with the father, he was not associated with him in any way.
The younger son was saved by his feeling that he still had a father. The older son doesn’t even call him father. His relationship with the father is not based on internal love but on a formality. “Lo, these many years do I serve thee”; he worked the inheritance which was his, but he had no love either for his father or for his brother. He claims that he never disobeyed the father at any time, yet now that the father pleads with him to show love and compassion for his long lost brother he disobeys and refuses to enter the house. He doesn’t even recognize him as a brother, but says “this thy son”. The story shows us that someone can appear to be close to God; he regularly attends Church and boasts that he keeps all that the Church requires of him, but if his relationship with God and his fellow men is not based on love then he doesn’t live according to the image of God. The Church is a community of people that love each other.
At no point in the parable does the older son appear to accept the fact that he made a mistake and then to confess it and receive forgiveness. For everything the father is to blame, because he received back his child, because he killed the fatted calf, because he never ever gave him a kid that he might make merry with his friends. He smears his brother’s name by pointing out that he had devoured his living with harlots, he was not interested in his brother’s wellbeing but in the waste of wealth which wasn’t even his. He humiliates and dishonours his brother to show his own superiority and excellence. He self-excluded himself from the father’s paradise of love because he had no love. he remained without salvation and became himself ά-σωτος – prodigal, because he didn’t “come to himself” that is, he didn’t come to his senses and as the fathers of the Church say: for the pure in heart God is light that enlightens and for the impure fire that burns.
So where do we find ourselves? Which of the two do we represent? May God find us worthy “to come to our senses” that we may make the right choices so that we might not be deprived of the father’s house and the banquet of the Fatted Calf.