The proud Jews of Judaea resented Jesus’s welcome to less observant Jews across the Roman world, thinking that they should be made to suffer for the years in which they had lived the supposedly easy life of Gentiles. So he told them this tale.
ONCE there was a farmer with two sons. The younger of them asked for everything he was due in his father’s Will, and went off excitedly to see the world.
Very soon all the money had been frittered away, and the unhappy boy found himself keeping pigs to survive.
“Even my father’s servants live better than this” he thought. So he swallowed his pride, and set off for home.
The moment his father spotted him, he ran out and embraced him, and ushered him into the house. “Tonight, we will eat the best beef on the farm!” he promised.
The boy’s elder brother, who had worked obediently in the fields for years but never received this sort of treatment, was inclined to be resentful.
“But every day you have had my love,” his father gently reminded him, “and shared my home. Your brother was lost, and now we have found him again; he was dead, and now he is alive.”