We continue with our brief reflection on the parable of the two sons. In the last post, we left off with a stranger in an alien land. Suddenly, his experience inspires a sense of loss. It seems sudden, and can we trace it to his misfortune? Hunger is a powerful motivator.
Jesus describes another journey here, a coming to one’s senses. If one has to come, perhaps the previous state for the young man is senselessness. We do not see, hear, or feel. But one day, we wake up. We do.
The recognition of this can be a journey longer than one to that distant country, and longer even than one between stars or planets.
Jesus relates the inner thoughts of the sinner who has achieved a first stop on a pilgrimage:
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father
and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
The son makes a connection from his empty gut to his mind in which the light has dawned. In this reading, I noticed “he got up.” Was he sitting? On his knees? Knocked out? Twelve Step advocates speak of hitting bottom before one can recover. Is this true? What state must we be in for us to experience the lowest of the low before we can hope to arise and get up?