‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’ - Luke 15:29-32
I know in this parable, we are supposed to relate to the Prodigal Son. After all, we are all sinners in need of the Father's forgiveness and mercy. I do realize this. Yet, every time I hear this story, I feel for the Prodigal Son's older brother. I think that his reaction is only normal. Yes, it is rather petty, but any of us in the same situation might very well act the same. That brother is in the story for a reason. He is there for those of us who never had the big conversion experience, who never took a huge detour in life, who have just continued being faithful to the best of our abilities. There is a place for us at the table, too. "All that I have is yours." But we need to remember to rejoice when others do have those big conversion experiences. We need to help welcome them home with open arms.