Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them —it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.” Then they asked him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
You can frequently discover someone’s fresh insight into God’s mercy when they suggest that the prodigal son parable should be re-labeled as “the Prodigal God.” In fact author Timothy Keller has done just that in a short but insightful and powerful little book. The title is actually The Prodigal God. So maybe it is foolish to revisit this topic. After all only fools rush in where even angels fear to tread. Yet at the same time I am not uncomfortable with the “foolish” label.
Let me suggest that the youngest son in Luke’s parable persists in his spendthrift ways for a number of years—maybe three, four, perhaps as long as five. Each day of each year, I imagine in my mind that the father walks out to the end of the drive not far from the highway—thinking that perhaps this will be the day when my son will reach down deep into his memory. Perhaps this son of mine will realize that no transgression can ever blot out this fatherly love. Perhaps this child will weigh his empty pleasures against his father’s never-ending and intense eagerness for re-union. Yet each day, after repeated walks to the end of the drive, the father’s highest hopes turn to tears. One can hardly count the number of tears. Yet mixed with the tears is the burning thought—maybe tomorrow.
Then, on one of those days, when the father goes out to the highway as he has done countless times, there is his wayward son asking for mercy. And now again there are tears, miraculously turned joyful. Little do we know the number of tears the Father sheds to have any of us back in his arms.
—Jack Goldberg is a retired trial attorney. He and his wife Barbara live in Cincinnati. Jack is the moderator of the Moot Court competition team at St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati OH, and an alumnus of St. X.
Deliver us, Lord, from our bondage, as streams in dry land.
Those who sow in tears will sing when they reap.
They go out, they go out full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing:
They come back full of song, carrying their sheaves.
—Psalm 126Please share the Good Word with your friends!