Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C
“Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him”
The son returns to his father’s house and cries : “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me as one of your paid servants”… But the father ran, he ran from far off: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). The father ran… in the person of the Son when he came down from heaven to earth through him. “The Father who sent me is with me,” says the Son in the gospel (cf. Jn 16:32). He threw his arms around him: he threw himself even as far as ourselves when, in Christ, his whole divinity came down from heaven and made its home in our flesh. And he kissed him tenderly. When? “When mercy and truth met; justice and peace embraced” (Ps 84:11).
He made them give him a festal robe, the one that Adam lost, the eternal glory of immortality. He put a ring on his finger, the ring of honor, his title of liberty, the special seal of the spirit, the sign of faith, firstfruit of the heavenly wedding. Listen to Paul the apostle: “I have betrothed you to one husband to present you to Christ as a pure virgin” (2Cor 11:2). And he made him put sandals on his feet: that our feet might be shod when we preach the good news of the Gospel, that “the feet of those who announce the good news of peace” might be blessed” (Is 52:7; Rom 10:15).
Then he had the fattened calf slaughtered for him… The calf was slaughtered at the father’s command because Christ, who is God and Son of God, could not be killed except by the Father’s will. Listen to the apostle Paul once more: “He did not spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all” (Rom 8:32).