The Parable of Human Iniquity

The admirable parable of the prodigal son gives us a beautiful lesson in this Lenten season.

newsroom (30/03/2022 08:29, Gaudium PressThe IV Sunday of Lent, known as Laetare Sunday, fills us with holy joy in the midst of a period that is all about penance and conversion, as the Easter joy is manifested by the Resurrection that follows the death of Our Lord. The purple vestments give way to pink, as a manifestation of the hope that the good God, rich in mercy, brings us, certain that He will bring us salvation.

For this reason, the liturgy will take from its Gospel the divine and poetic parable of the prodigal son, in order to transmit a wonderful teaching to us.

An untimely request

This parable could well be titled the “parable of human iniquity.” Let us look at the Gospel narration (Lk 15:11-24):

“A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ And the father divided the goods between them.”

This request by the younger son seems to have no basis in reality, because normally inheritance is received upon the death of the father.

Therefore, it can be said that, so to speak, he wanted to “kill his father”. This act symbolizes original sin. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating of the forbidden fruit, for they wanted to make themselves gods, having the knowledge of good and evil (Cf. Gen. 3:3), dethroning God from their hearts and killing the divine life in their souls.

Leads to difficult consequences

“A few days later, the youngest son gathered what was his and set out for a distant place. And there he squandered everything in an unbridled life.”

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As a consequence of the original stain, all of humanity was subjected to the evils of this fault. Death reigned among men; pride and sensuality drove out human passions, as well as all kinds of vices and wickedness, which have been demonstrated throughout history.

“When he had spent all that he possessed, there was a great famine in that region and he began to be in need. So he went to ask a local man for work, and he was sent to take care of the pigs.”

Drought in a certain region produces a lack of fruit, and, as a consequence, hunger. This lack of rain may well represent a certain breaking of the covenant between heaven and earth. The overflowing graces that once descended on paradise were no longer felt; and the most regrettable thing: man lost his divine filiation, as payment for his failure, and started to be seduced by the “evil master”.

In our lowest places, man returns to God

“The boy wanted to satisfy his hunger with the food that the pigs ate, but they wouldn’t even give him that. Then he came to his senses and said, ‘How many of my father’s employees have plenty of bread, and here I am, dying of hunger.”

The posterity of Adam’s descendants showed signs of a terrible decadence into which human nature had fallen, and urgently needed restoration. Now, who would be able to restore and redeem such iniquity present in such a corrupted nature? Only a God.

“I’m leaving, I’m going back to my father and saying to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me like one of your slaves‘”.

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These are the longings for conviviality with God. How blessed and anointed must have been Adam’s long conversations with God in the evening of paradise! More and more, humanity, submerged in the mire of sin, missed this relationship with the Father in heaven, as His beloved children.

And God is always on the watch for our return

“Then he departed and returned to his father. While he was still far away, his father spotted him and felt compassion. He ran to meet him, embraced him and covered him with kisses.”

It is God, the infinite Mercy and Goodness, who, in the fullness of time, is born of a Blessed Virgin, incarnating Himself and living among men, performing all kinds of miracles and great signs among the people, in order to make them return to the dwelling of His divine Heart.

He will clothe us with the garments of salvation

“[The father said to the servants], ‘Bring me quickly the best robe to clothe my son. And put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring a fatted calf and kill it. Let us make a feast. For this son of mine was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.

What did this son deserve to receive such favor and kindness from his father, to the point that he rewarded him with so much wealth? Nothing! It was his immense love and compassion that overcame all the mistakes and sins that the young boy had the misfortune to commit, and accepted him back into his home as a son who had always remained faithful.

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A lesson for us

This is only a pale image of how God our Lord has acted and is acting with us. He redeemed us, immolating Himself for us on top of a Cross, after suffering the most atrocious sufferings, thus showing a love that no earthly father would be able to demonstrate.

He opened the gates of Heavenly Paradise for us and showered us with abundant and copious graces of conversion and sanctification. He freed us from the seductive power of darkness; He gave us back the dignity of children with the holy Baptism. He constantly restores our nature with the nourishment of the Eucharist, in which He deigns to come to the dwelling place of our soul, dwelling sacramentally in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

But what is God’s only demand for us? His only request is this: to strip us of the condition of the old man, stained by the mud of sin, declining our miseries in the confessional, where He waits anxiously for us, with open arms, longing with divine eagerness for our return to Himself.

Without any doubt, if we humble ourselves before Him and begin to live a holy life according to His commandments, He will really embrace us and receive us into the dwelling of His Heart, absolving us of our sins. He will clothe us with the precious cloths of reconciliation, the sandals of virtue, and the ring of the children of God.

By Guilherme Motta

 

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