“A struggling father” – Seeds of Faith – June 21, 2021

Happy Father’s Day!
In the Bible, Jesus told a story of a loving father. This story is popular called, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus did not actually put a title on this story so we can call this story by any name that could be appropriate. It could be called the Parable of a struggling father or the Parable of two Prodigal Sons.
The story of the elder son is not oftentimes highlighted because of the popular title. Jesus emphasized in His first sentence the words, “There was a man who had two sons.” So, this story is about the father, the older son, and the younger son. We cannot discount the story of the first born son.
We also oftentimes did not realize that the story did not involve the mother. It is assumed that the mother is already dead. This means that the father in the story is a single parent. Jesus has told us a complex story involving a widower, a teenager, and a young man who has yet to have a family of his own.
Since the other aspects of the story has been given much emphasis, let us now look at the ending of the story. Jesus did not end the story with a happy ending like the fairy tales that says, “… And they lived happily ever after.” Why is this so? Jesus wanted to convey to us a message that this story is a reality. It is also a continuing story.
Luke 15: 28 to 32 says,
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
What lessons can we learn from the ending of the story? What message can the fathers of today learn from this?
First, we need to celebrate the milestones of our children.
In the story, the elder son angrily told the father that he did not give him even a young goat to celebrate with his friends. This is something that the father has forgotten. He rectified it by celebrating the return of his younger son. With this realization, the story implicitly tells us that father will celebrate all the milestones of his two sons.
Let us not set aside the milestones in the of our children. These are the memories that will be etched in their minds.
Second, we must check the relationship of our children.
The relationship of the elder son and the younger son is clearly strained. It could have contributed to the running away of the younger son. The elder son in the story is not thrilled to see his brother. The father had to explain to him the meaning of their celebration. So, as a continuing story, we can just imagine how the father resolved the relationship of the brothers.
This story, then, reminds us to check on our children from time to time. They need our guidance no matter what age they are in. The relationship of the father to their children does not end when they graduate from school or have a family of their own. It continues.
As we celebrate Father’s Day, let us learn from the story of Jesus about a struggling father.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University