Alternate Ending to the Parable of the Prodigal Son 6

Have you ever wondered how this parable would have ended up if the older brother had been a better brother?

When the younger, rebellious son abandons his father, the father has to respect that. He can’t force the young man to love and trust him. He can’t go out and try to force his son to come back home. He can only wait, hoping that the son will have a change of heart and come back.

But the older brother doesn’t have to wait.  He doesn’t have to be passive.

If he had really cared about his father and his little brother, instead of just caring about himself, he would have gone after him. He would have done more than just criticize and judge him. He would have at least made one or two outings in search of him.

Who's your prodigal son?

Who’s your prodigal son?

Now, imagine the conversation they would have had at the pig farm.

  • Older brother: “We miss you, and we would love for you to come back.”
  • Younger brother: “But how can I, what I did was so horrible?”
  • Older brother: “Don’t worry, just come back — trust me, we’ll work it out. You don’t have to stay here eating corn husks…”

How much joy that effort — even if it had been unsuccessful — would have given his father!

How much of a help it might have been for his brother!

And how much meaning and fulfillment it would have given himself!

Each one of us is surrounded by innumerable younger brothers who are lost and sorrowful. It is not so hard to open the eyes of our hearts to see them. How easy it would be to invite them back to the father’s house, and how much joy it would spread!


    • You’re welcome.

      I think everyone finds this Gospel parable compelling, because they can relate to the need for forgiveness and unconditional love, which the father in the parable represents. We also need to bear in mind that the Gospel calls us to forgive, reach out to lost sheep, and love our neighbor as ourself. The older brother in the parable does not get this. I wonder if those who were listening to Christ when he told the story did.

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  3. Wow, what an eye-opener your post has been for me! I never thought about it before quite that way. As a mom, I can identify with the emotions and actions of the father. As a sibling, I can identify with the elder son (all too well). The younger brother, not quite as much, not because I am perfect but because I never was rebellious, defiant, or daring as he was in the story . . .
    Your post really opened up my thinking. Yes, we are indeed surrounded by younger brothers, and action–evangelism–is called for each and every day in ways large and small, subtle as well as overt. Thanks for reminding me of this so very well.

    • I think everyone relates to this parable in one way or another, because it is so rich in meaning and application. We will never exhaust the fullness of God’s Word: “ever ancient and ever new” — St Augustine.

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