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The Younger Son,
“The younger son said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me.” (Luke 15:11-12) Returning means that one had left home. The request of the younger son is offensive at many levels. It is hurtful to the father for in many ways he is saying to him I do not care whether you are alive or dead. This approach of the son contradicts human life at many cultural levels. How can one wish his parents dead? If one was to make such a request to parent today the consequences are unimaginable. The community would reject such arrogance and behaviour. What the young son was demanding was only entitled to it when his father had passed away. It was scandalous the behaviour of the younger son. The younger son also rejects his home by demanding his inheritance. It is downright selfish. His behaviour points to a self-centred individual. He betrays the family for this coveted distant country and his departure leaves it impoverished. We can recognise the younger son within ourselves, the rebellious individual, self –centred person. Rejecting all the teaching of the Church and rejecting our baptism, through acts of sin. We have preferred the distant country instead of the church. We have wasted our inheritances and traded our rights and privileges given to us at our Baptism for the world. As the young man soon discovers that the world rejects him when he has nothing more to give. Most of us have spent more time in the world then we have spent in the church since our confirmation day. There is joke that says that Anglicans graduate out of the church on confirmation day. True and equally tragic. Henri Nouwen says, “Leaving home is, then, much more than an historical even bound to time and place. It is a denial of the spiritual reality that I belong to God with every part of my being, that God holds me safe in an eternal embrace, that I am indeed carved in the palms of God’s hands and hidden in their shadows.” (Nouwem 2010: 41) For Nouwem leaving means I am still to come home. For him home is the ‘centre of my being,’ where, ‘I can hear the voice that says: “you are my beloved, on you my favour rests.” We need to hear this voice, for it speaks to us, it is the uninterrupted voice of God throughout the ages. When we hear this voice we know that we have come home.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ