Fr Paul Gooley reads today from the Gospel of Luke (15: 1-3, 11-32) in which Jesus tells the parable of a man with two sons, the younger one of whom asks for his inheritance early.

Fr Paul says today’s gospel reading gives us a particularly attractive Lukan story of forgiveness. The story of the Prodigal Son is told with all Luke’s love, artistry and delicacy for the characters in the story.

The wasteful, good for nothing son goes back home not because he is repentant, but simply because he is hungry.

The loving father is perpetually on the look-out, despite the fact that the boy has written his father off with his implied ‘I don’t care whether you are alive or dead, I want my money’. The father runs to meet the son, interrupting the carefully prepared speech and pampering the returned son. A chicken would have made a good party, or perhaps a lamb; but a fattened calf will feed the whole village!

When the father loves the elder son enough to leave his guests at the party and go out into the field, the disgruntled son slanders his brother and is gently corrected by his father.

Luke’s characters are always a bit like ourselves, good and bad at the same time. In this parable the sons and the father often reflect on their situation and ask, ‘What shall I do now?’

Fr Paul shares today’s Gospel Lesson – Lent reminds us that we cannot forget the overflowing love and forgiveness of God.