Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Prodigal Father

A catholic scholar, Kevin Hart, taught me about the Parable of the Prodigal Son via this Mormon Times article.

Hart argues that the main character in the parable, the one we are called to identify with, is the father rather than either son. The father, against all reason and custom, pours out love on his children.

"The younger son had seen his father first as dead, then as a master, and then as a true father," Hart said. "The elder son had seen him as a master, but not yet as a true father."

The elder son had not yet seen as his father had seen, that life is embedded in relationships of love.

Hart said the parable is not a parable about choice -- about which son we should be more like. Both sons had refused the love of the father. One was fixated on freedom, the other fairness. The story of both sons is unfinished. Did the younger son truly repent? Would the older son accept the younger?

The center of identity, the person we need to be more like is not either son, said Hunt.

"We should decide to be more like the father than like either son," Hunt said.

The parable calls to us to be excessively wasteful, to be prodigal: prodigal with love.


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