Stories Of Art

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


It is one of the most popular parables in the Bible. A son wants to be independent and gets his share of the estate. This parable reflects us. Plenty of times we want to live independent from God.

We want to live without Him. But when we are far away from Him we start to feel a desire of love, acceptation and affection. The difficulty for us is now to turn around and go home.

Rembrandt illustrated the emotional scene of reunion in his painting “The return of the Prodigal Son” (1663-1669). The Father embraces his son in rags. In the painted scene you can't see the face of the son. That helps to identify ourselves with the younger son. I can experience love even after I failed and made wrong decisions. The Father doesn't care about his loss of image. His love to the son is greater than manners and social prestige.

You can also feel the tension in this painting. Father and son are reunited, but the older son is standing aside and distancing himself. He is watching the scene.

Rembrandt gives us the opportunity to identify ourselves with each of the characters. Am I the younger son who wants to receive forgiveness? Or am I the father who got hurt and needs to forgive? Or am I the older son who feels neglected and is distancing himself?