by S. E. M.
The father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the finest robe and put it on him” (Lk 15:22).
“No, father,” the son said. “No. I cannot accept. Treat me like one of your hired hands.”
“What do you mean?” said the father. “You shall have a fine robe and a ring and shoes. We shall kill the fatted calf and rejoice. You were lost and have been found!” (cf Lk 15:22-24)
“No, father,” said the son. I cannot let you give me your goods. It is enough that you let me be a hired hand.” And with that, the son took off the robe.
“My son, I want you home,” said the father.
“No. I want to join the hired hands.”
“I cannot force you to accept. But…”
The son turned and walked to the hut where the hired hands stayed, while the father watched with an aching heart.
One day while the son was working with the hands, one of them asked him, “Why are you here? Are you not the master’s son?”
“Yes, I am,” the son answered, “but I have sinned against God and against my father, and I cannot go back and live in his home.”
“Cannot?” asked the man. “Or will not?”
Another day, another of the workmen asked him, “Why are you here? Are you not the master’s son?”
“Yes, I am,” he replied, “but I have squandered my inheritance and I cannot go home.”
“Worthy or not, you are his son. Do you not see how he is always looking at you?”
The son made no response.
The next day while the son was working, he felt his father’s eyes on him. This time he rose up and began to walk towards his father.
The father ran to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.
“Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I do not deserve to be called your son (Lk 15:21). But I can resist your love no longer.”
The father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the finest robe…”
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