The father embraces the son (Lk 15:20-15:20)

“Thus,

The prodigal son

Set off.

He went

To his father.

But while he was

Still far off,

His father saw him.

He was filled

With compassion.

He ran to him.

He put his arms

Around him.

He kissed him.”

 

καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ. ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, καὶ δραμὼν ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this prodigal son set off to go to his father (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ).  While he was still far away (ἔτι δὲ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος), his father saw him (εἶδεν αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ).  He was filled with compassion (καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη).  He ran to him (καὶ δραμὼν).  He put his arms around him or fell upon his neck (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and he kissed him (καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν).  In case there was any doubt, the father was going to accept the prodigal sinning son without any conditions.  There was not even an “I’m sorry!” from the son.  This compassionate father ran out to embrace him before he even got close to their house.  Obviously, he was out in the fields working.  Do you feel closer to the wasteful repentant prodigal son or the compassionate forgiving father?

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Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

The prayer of Edna (Tob 10:12-10:12)

“Then Edna said to Tobias.

‘My child and dear brother,

The Lord of heaven bring you back safely,

May I live long enough to see your children

By my daughter Sarah before I die.

In the sight of the Lord,

I entrust my daughter to you

Do nothing to grieve her all the days of your life.

Go in peace, my child.

From now on,

I am your mother

Sarah is your beloved wife.

May we all prosper together

All the days of our lives.’

Then she kissed them both. She saw them safely off.”

Edna, the wife of Raguel, also blessed the new couple in much the same way as her husband Raguel. She wanted the Lord of heaven to bring them home safe. She, too, wanted to live long enough to see children. She did not want Tobias to do anything to grieve her daughter Sarah since she wanted peace. She was now his and her mother, so that all of them could prosper. She then kissed them both and sent them off safely.

 

The meeting with Raguel (Tob 7:1-7:8)

“When they entered Ecbatana, Tobias said to Raphael.

‘Brother Azariah! Take me straight to our brother Raguel.’

So he took him to the house of Raguel. There, they found him sitting beside the courtyard door. They greeted him first.   He replied.

‘Joyous greetings, brothers! Welcome and good health!’

Then he brought them into the house. Raguel said to his wife Edna.

‘How much the young man resembles my kinsman Tobit!’

Then Edna questioned them.

‘Where are you from, brothers?’

They answered.

‘We belong to the descendents of Naphtali, who are exiles in Nineveh.’ She said to them.

‘Do you know our kinsman Tobit?’

They replied.

‘Yes, we know him!’

Then she asked them.

‘Is he in good health?’

They replied.

‘He is alive and in good health.’

Tobias added.

‘He is my father.’

At that Raguel jumped up and kissed him and wept. He also spoke to them as follows.

‘Blessings on you, my child, son of a good and noble father!

O most miserable of calamities

That such an upright and beneficent man has become blind!’

He then embraced his kinsman Tobias and wept. His wife Edna also wept for him. Their daughter Sarah likewise wept. Then Raguel slaughtered ram from the flock. He received them warmly.”

When they reached Ecbatana, Tobias wanted to go visit Raguel right away. So Raphael, called Azariah, took him to that house, where Raguel was sitting outside at the courtyard door. They greeted each other. Raguel noticed that Tobias resembled Tobit. His wife Edna questioned who they were and where they were from. They said that they were from Naphtali, but they were exiles in Nineveh. Edna wanted to know if they knew Tobit. Then Tobias said that he was alive and in good health and was his father. With that Raguel became all excited. He jumped up and kissed them and began to weep. He thought it was terrible that such a good man as Tobit was blind. How he knew that Tobit was blind is not clear, since the text does explicitly say that they told him about this blindness. Then Raguel, his wife Edna, and daughter Sarah all wept. Raguel slaughtered a ram and received them warmly. All seems to be going well.

The blessing of Tobias for the journey (Tob 5:17-5:17)

“Then Tobit called his son Tobias. He said to him.

‘Son, prepare supplies for the journey.

Set out with your brother.

May God in heaven bring you safely there!

May you return in good health to me!

May his angel, my son, accompany you both for your safety!’

Before he went out to start his journey, he kissed his father and mother. Tobit then said to him.

‘Have a safe journey.’”

Tobit gave a blessing to his son. He was concerned with his safety. He told him to prepare for the journey. He sent him with his new brother. He prayed that God in heaven would bring him back safe and in good health. In ironic terms he prays for his angel to protect him, when in fact, the angel Raphael was with him. They then kissed and he said, once again, have a safe journey.