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Outrageously Lavish Love

Today’s Reflection

THE PARABLE of the prodigal son captures the essence of a loving and merciful God. Jesus, in telling this parable, not only assures us of just how outrageously lavish God’s love and mercy are but also presents us with his image of God. This parable is probably one of the most powerful pictures of God that Jesus offers. In the story, the younger son asks for his inheritance while his father still lives, which, in that time, is akin to wishing his father dead. After receiving his payment, the son takes off. He squanders his father’s hard-earned money and soon is left lonely and desperate. Not only does he lose his dignity but also his identity; he does what no good Jewish boy would ever do by coming into direct contact with pigs and eating their food. In desperation, he comes to his senses and decides to go home to his father, presenting himself as a servant and not a son. The father, we learn, has been longing for his son’s return, and when he sees his son, he refuses to consider him a servant. No matter what the son has done, he can never lose his identity or his father’s affections. His father embraces him, kisses him, and clothes him. He puts a ring on his finger, symbolizing the son’s identity as a member of the family. The father throws a party because his son was lost and is found, was dead and is now alive.

—Trevor Hudson, Anthony Egan, SJ, and Russell Pollitt, SJ
Divine Friendship: Reflections for Lent

From pages 45-46 of Divine Friendship: Reflections for Lent by Trevor Hudson, Anthony Egan, SJ, and Russell Pollitt, SJ. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When have you, like the prodigal son, experienced God’s loving embrace? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”
—Luke 15:31-32

Prayer for the Week

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

Are you looking for Lenten resources? Divine Friendship: Reflections for Lent reminds us that God deeply desires friendship with us. During the month of February, Daily Reflections readers will receive a 30% discount when buying Divine Friendship from The Upper Room Bookstore. Visit our store this month, and use the following promo code when you check out: REFLECT30

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Betsy February 14, 2019, 7:03 am

    This has always been my favorite parable, I guess because it is so relatable. I specially love when the father, after mourning his son for so long, looks out over the fields and sees him from a distance. His heart is filled with love. I am comforted that this is how God feels when he sees me after a season of distance in my life. He is filled with love and mercy when He sees me from way off; ready to accept and love me.

  • robert moeller February 14, 2019, 7:52 am

    I have a hard time picking a favorite parable, but the prodigal son and the good samaritan are ones I can hear and read again and again.

    Had a long trip on Tuesday, snow removal, shopping, and errands yesterday,
    back to a more normal routine today. Can’t use the gym as there was a flood, so I’m trying to make sure I walk every day.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Prayers for everyone that God’s love reaches you today and always.

  • Julie February 14, 2019, 8:26 am

    I read a study Bible that explains the context of the day regarding certain passages. I find this helpful in understanding the Bible stories with better insight into the words. They are so much more powerful when we understand the context that the Lord used and the audience had. I felt God’s welcoming love when I found this group. I felt God knew the support I needed to grow spiritually and wanting that stronger relationship, led me here.
    Prayers for Lou and her family, Rusty and his family, April and her family and Edy and her family.
    Prayers for Betsy and her family, may they all be healthy and well.
    Prayers for Robert and his safety as he walks in this cold, snowy weather. Prayers of gratitude for safe travel and chores completed.
    Prayers for Mary and her parents. May her parents health improve.
    Prayers for Connie and may her spirits soar today despite the weather.
    Prayers for Jill as she supports Gloria. Prayers for Gloria, may her pain be releaved and may she feel God’s peace.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she and Lucy love each other this day and every day.
    Prayers and blessings and warm hugs for all the UR family, especially those who are down today

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling February 14, 2019, 4:44 pm

      Thank you Julie for your prayers!

      May your situation improve and also your health!

      Blessings!

  • Andrea February 14, 2019, 8:27 am

    I also love this parable of God’s love. God is not punitive. When we fall short, or become distracted from God’s word, God always rejoices with love and welcomes us home when we return. I feel inspired to re-read all the parables of Jesus.

    I am thankful for a lovely day with my friend Jane, who is getting chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, and I ask for your prayers for her. Please also pray for my friend Terri, who is undergoing a couple surgical procedures.

    Prayers for those who are missed – Jill and her mother, father and sister, and Marcy. Prayers for all UR friends and those you name in prayer. Wishing all a blessed day.

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