12 August 2010

Henri Nouwen on Luke 15

For me, personally, the possible conversion of the elder son is of crucial importance.

There is much in me of that group of which Jesus is most critical: the Pharisees and the scribes. I have studied the books, learned about the laws, and often presented myself as an authority in religious matters. People have shown me a great deal of respect and even called me 'reverend.' I have been rewarded with compliments and praise. . . . I have been critical of many types of behavior and often passed judgment on others.

So when Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son, I have to listen with the awareness that I am closest to those who elicited the story from Jesus with the remark: 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'
--Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (Doubleday 1994), 79

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