The all-important Why

76 The parable of the prodigal son Do you know the parable of the prodigal son? (Luke 15: 11ff) This well-known story was told by Jesus and it is almost 2000 years old. It describes our situation, more precisely, the situation of our souls in regards to the Fall from Grace. I will narrate it here in my own words: A man had two sons. The younger one no longer liked it on the farm of his father. He apparently found it too boring. He told his father that he wanted to go away and he asked him to pay out his inheritance. The father must have been sad about this, but that didn’t trouble the son, he wanted to go and experience things. We can well imagine his levity and his arrogance. He gathered his things together and he went on his way. He was filled with optimism and thirst for action. Everything must have worked out well to begin with, out there in foreign lands. But things soon turned bad for him. Once he had frittered away the money his father had given him, he got into great difficulties, because a famine gripped the land. At the end there was nothing left but to hire out his services as a swine herder. (This was not just a human but also a lasting religious humiliation for a Jew in those days, because pigs were seen as culturally unclean.) He received so little food for his work that he was tempted to eat from the carob bread husks the pigs received as feed in order to still his hunger. But he was not allowed to do this. Things were desperate. He could hardly sink any lower. Well - he finally started to reflect: “I must have been stupid to leave the house of my father! How fatuous! My father’s day labourers are a hundred times better off than me, They can eat their fill every day, they have clothes and they have a shelter. And I go to waste here. I am deeply ashamed, but I want to go back to my father and I will ask him to engage me as a day labourer.” And so, it came to pass. He made his way back home, in rags, feeble and miserable as he was. It was a long and arduous path, but he went back. He approached his father’s house. Something surprising happens now in this parable: