|Among the parables told by Jesus, that of the "lost son," or as it has been called, the "prodigal son" (prodigal means wasteful), is one of the best known. It involves a righteous and obedient firstborn son, a sinful younger brother who learns his lessons the hard way, and a father who forgives and takes back the sinner after he repents. It's a situation that has played itself out countless times over the ages:
There once was a man with two sons. The younger of them said, "Father, give me my share of the property." And the father divided his property between them.
"Not long afterwards, the younger son gathered all he had and traveled far away. There, he squandered all his money in self indulgent and immoral living. Then, a great famine arose and he starved. He pleaded and a farmer put him to work feeding pigs. To survive, he ate pig slop.
But it finally dawned on him, "Even my father's servants have bread to spare, but here I starve! I'll return home and ask my father for forgiveness." He traveled night and day. His father saw him coming from far off, wept, and ran to embraced him.
The son said, "Father, I've sinned against you; I'm no longer worthy to be called your son."
But the father called to his servants, "Bring my best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. Prepare a feast and let's celebrate. My son is back!"
His older son was working in the fields. Upon returning home, he heard music and dancing. He asked one of the servants what was going on. "Your brother has returned and your father is celebrating because he is safe and sound.'"
The older son was was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and pleaded with him but he answered, "All these years I've served you and never disobeyed you; yet you never gave me a party. But when my brother returned after squandering his fortune, you threw a wild party!"
The father replied, "Son, you've always been faithful to me. And for that, all that's mine is yours. But, it's fitting to celebrate for your brother. He was once dead and now he's alive; He was lost, and now he's found.'" (Bible, Book of Luke, Chapter 15, Verses 11-32)