(T)he Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. (Luke 15:2-3)
The Lord anticipates the objection we often hear, “But! But! But what about the sinners?!” We don’t pay attention to the folks for whom this message is intended. Even on Bishop Barron’s page, it’s notable that the older brother has been cropped out of the picture. Hint: the parable was for his group of friends.
I saw one online apologist looking for mercy for the elder son, that maybe he was hard at work all day and was just surprised at not being included in the festivities. I think Jesus addresses the perspective of the outraged when he puts these words in the brother’s mouth, “your son.” The Father gives perspective, “your brother.” Can we admit we are not only friends of sinners, but related to them?
The failure of modern Christianity is not other people who have lost a sense of sin, but the refusal to acknowledge sinners as family. And ourselves.
The Pharisees objected that Jesus was hanging out with sinners. Truly, we need that same charge laid at our feet. At least a little more often.