The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming 

In his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of HomecomingFr. Henri J. M. Nouwen writes about his encounter with Rembrandt’s painting of the same name based upon Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:11-32.  Within the book, Nouwen explores three major themes: 1) how each of us is the spendthrift, prodigal, younger son, and the judgmental, resentful, elder son; 2) how Jesus perfects both the younger and the elder son; and 3) how we are ultimately called to become the loving, forgiving father. As additional background material for our discussion, I am using Kenneth Bailey’s The Cross and the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants. This Lenten study covers five weeks.
(Lent 2016)

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Ch.3: The Younger Son Returns, pt.2

Is repentance and reconciliation within the contemplation of the younger son? Does he anticipate any change in his relationship with the father? At this point in the story, has the younger son learned anything from his experience?  Do you agree with Fr. Nouwen that Jesus himself can be seen as the younger son?
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The Return of the Prodigal Son, Conclusion, pt.1

Fr. Nouwen posits that the ultimate lesson of the parable, and indeed the core message of the Gospel, is that we are to become like the Father. We are called to imitate the compassionate God that is disclosed to us as the compassionate father in the parable. 
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A Sermon on the Parable of the Prodigal Son

The purpose of the parable isn’t to teach us that God will always welcome us home or to be a joyful rule follower.  Rather, the heart of the parable, and indeed the very heart of the Gospel, is to teach us what it means to become the Father. 
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Finding the God Who is Love

In his alienation and guilt, the prodigal is no longer capable of seeing his father as he really is. Instead of a parent abounding in love and care, he has substi­tuted an overseer of exacting justice.
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