Summary: Jesus, like a loving father, eagerly and recklessly welcomes those whom he loves back.

Lectionary intersections: In the first reading, notice that the manna ends and the crops of the Promised Land begin. In the parable, the younger son was sustained until he returned home. Psalm 32 is penitential and is echoed by Jesus’s parable. In Second Corinthians, Paul tells us that we are now charged with the ministry of reconciliation and that we are now to no longer regard anything [the Greek word for “no one” is a bit broader than just people] from a human point of view, which spells out one of the big lessons Jesus wants us to learn from this parable.

Lutheran Confessional Connection: “We now want to return to the gospel, which gives guidance and help against sin in more than one way, because God is extravagantly rich in his grace: first, through the spoken word, in which the forgiveness of sins is preached to the whole world (which is the proper function of the gospel); second, through baptism; third, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar; fourth, through the power of the keys and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brothers and sisters. Matthew 18:20: “Where two or three are gathered…” — Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles IV

Life Application: How can you emulate the father in today’s parable? What are ways to be have the same kinds of love for your family and neighbors?