Jesus told them this story: "A man had two sons.
The walk down the aisle was one of redemption. Even at the tender age of eleven, the young man recognized his need for a heavenly Father...his need for a Savior.
"The younger son told his father, `I want my share of your estate now' so his father agreed. A few days later this son...packed all his belongings and wasted...all his money on wild living.
He woke up and immediately tried to get his bearings. As he sat up he felt the stiffness in his back. And as his close to exploding head began to clear he looked around, and he realized where he was. He got up from the pavement and slowly began his search for his car. The "Men's Club" sign blinked on and off, casting a red glow on his face.
"About the time his money ran out.
"If you don't stop hassling my customers and leave right now, I'll call the cops!" He turned from the counter of the convenience store and noticed a group of people staring. His eyes fell on a young child, and he suddenly felt dirty and ashamed.
"He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
He reached into the trash bin and found what he was looked for. Tossing the paper that was wrapped around the unused portion of the candy bar, he swept off the dirt from the bar, and he ate.
"When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, `At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man."
He closed the door to the gas station bathroom and stared at the mirror. The face that stared back was unshaven, unclean, thin, aged. He thought of home and family. He thought of fresh pillowcases and clean linen. He thought of dinner being prepared in the kitchen. He thought of his Father.
"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
His father heard the sound of the taxi's motor running. He went to the driver's side window and paid the fare. As the car pulled away the father ran to the son. He quickly put his arm around him. And together...they wept.
"His son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'
The bedroom door remained closed as father and son reacquainted themselves with each other. The son told of his travels, of reckless living, of sins committed. The father quietly listened.
"But his father said to the servants, `Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began."
The family waited for the man at the head of the table to make the first move. With tears in his eyes he reached out both hands. On the right side the son closed his own hand around the father's open palm. The whole family followed suit until all were holding hands. They bowed their heads as one, and the father prayed. "Father of heaven and earth, it is for this bounty that we are grateful." He opened his eyes and looked at the son. The son returned the look with a smile. The father continued. "I thank you, Lord Jesus, that our boy has returned. I thank you...that he is home."
Based on the story of the Lost Son, as told by our Lord and Savior in St. Luke's Gospel (15:11-24). Scripture quoted is from the New Living Translation.
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