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Key words and phrases: go after the lost one, Rejoice with me, got up and went back, let us celebrate with a feast, refused to enter the house, has come to life again
To the point: What the shepherd, the woman, and the father all have in com- mon is having lost something dear to them. When they find what they have lost, they rejoice extravagantly. In the parable of the prodigal son, he is found because he chooses to return to his father’s house: he chooses life. By contrast, the older son—in his anger, resentment, and jealousy—is truly the one who is lost because he refuses to rejoice in his father’s mercy and goodness: he chooses death. The extravagant mercy and goodness of our divine Father urges us to choose life over death.
To the First Reading: Both readings describe the mercy God extends to sinners, whether the sin is idolatry (First Reading); dissolute living (younger son); or anger, resentment, and jealousy (older son). Such divine mercy begets new life.
To Experience: Many parents anguish as they watch a son or daughter go astray in life. They will do anything to help their children come to their senses and turn their life around. Parents only want life for their children, although sometimes children seem to choose death for themselves.