The Return of the Prodigal Son, Conclusion, pt.1

This Tuesday we are gathering for our final discussion of Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming.  Please read the Conclusion of the book and then reread the parable in Luke 15:11-32 in light of that conclusion.  In the Conclusion, 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.  Nouwen reaches this conclusion by drawing on Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6:17-49 and Paul’s great discourse on divine sonship in Rom 8:12-17.  Jesus commands that we be compassionate as our Father is compassionate (Lk. 6:36) and tells us that everyone, when fully taught, will be like his teacher (Lk. 6:40). In other words, we are called to imitate the compassionate God that is disclosed to us as the compassionate father in the parable.  As Paul writes, we are the sons of God, we are the heirs of God, and fellow heirs with Christ. Rom 8:14, 17.  As an heir, we are the successor who is commanded to step into the place of the father and to offer that same compassion to others that he once offered to me. Please take your time to read and inwardly digest Fr. Nouwen’s conclusion, and please go back and read the biblical citations on which he relies.

Dinner is at 6. Menu is corned-beef and cabbage. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.   

If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.  Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Luke 6:32-36

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