Bishop Banda’s Homily, Saturday 2nd Week of Lent.
The parable of the prodigal son is perhaps one of the most familiar parables of the New Testament. At the core of this parable are two brothers and their merciful father. This relates directly to the situation which prompted the parable: “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. The Pharisees and the Scribes murmured, saying, this man receives sinners and eats with them” (Lk 15. 1).
2. When we look back at our lives, we all discover that we have wondered far and wide. We are now spiritually bankrupt and tired. Our money cannot buy us enough. Pleasures do no longer please. Our shallow friendships have turned sour. Deeply, we feel lost. We are in search of a home, a place of welcome and acceptance.
3. However, we may equally be the elder son, who has lived a dutiful life. Baptized, confirmed, married or became a priest (a religious) and always obedient to parents, teachers, Bishops and Superiors etc. We have never run away from home, never wasted our time and money on useless pursuits. We never got lost in “debauchery and drunkenness”. For our entire life, we have been responsible, traditional and at home.
4. However, within us are jealousy, anger, touchiness and sullenness. There is a subtle self-righteousness and we complain about everything and everyone. We are so resentful. We have been working at our father’s farm, but never fully tasted the joy of being at home. Instead of being grateful for all the privileges we have received, we have become grumpy. We are envious of our younger brothers and sisters who disregarded the norms and were welcomed back.
5. The goodness of the father in the parable is an invitation of Jesus to the murmuring
Pharisees and Scribes who have grown indignant at His goodness to sinners. He begs them to come in and to share with Him the joy at this hour of homecoming and reconciliation with the prodigal son.
6. Our Lenten season calls us to a journey of self-introspection. First and foremost as the younger son, secondly as the elder son, and thirdly as the father. Let us discover within ourselves not only the lost child, nor the jealous child but most of all the compassionate father – the divine within us.