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Jesus' best known and maybe most repeated parable is the so-called «Parable of the Good Father». What did people feel the first time they heard this unforgettable parable about the goodness of a father concerned only for the happiness of his sons?

Without doubt, right from the start they remained unsettled. What kind of father was this who didn't impose his authority? How could he agree to a son who has the nerve to ask him to share the inheritance before he died? How could he divide his property, thus putting in danger the future of the family?

Jesus upset them all the more when he started talking about the welcome of that father for the son who came home hungry and humiliated. When he was still far off, the father runs to meet him, embraces him tenderly, kisses him over and over, interrupts his confession and rushes to receive him as beloved son in his house. The hearers wouldn't have been able to believe it. That father had lost his dignity. He wasn't acting as the patron and patriarch of a family. His gestures were those of a mother who tries to protect and defend her child from shame and dishonor.

Later on he even goes out to meet with his older son. He patiently listens to his accusations, he speaks with special tenderness to him and invites him to the celebration. He only wanted to see his two sons seated at the same table, sharing a festive banquet.

What is Jesus suggesting? Is it possible that God is like that? Like a father who doesn't keep close watch on the inheritance, who doesn't go about obsessed with the sons' morality, and who breaks the rules of what's right, seeking a happy life for them? Would this be the best metaphor for God: a father welcoming with open arms those who go about «lost», and begging those who are faithful to him to welcome everyone lovingly?

For twenty centuries theologians have elaborated profound discourses about God, but isn't this metaphor of Jesus still today the best expression of God's mystery?


José Antonio Pagola

 Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf

Publicado en www.gruposdejesus.com

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