Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop
Bk. vii Comment. on Luke xv
Thou seest how that the heavenly goods are given to such as seek them. Neither oughtest thou to think the father to blame, because he gave to his younger son. In the kingdom of God there is no age of weakness, neither doth faith wax infirm with years. He, surely, who asked, deemed himself of sufficient age. And would that he had not left his father! then had he been ignorant of the obstacle of his age! But after that he had left his father’s house, and had gone into a far country, he began to be in want. Well is he said to have wasted his substance, who hath cut himself off from the Church!
℣. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
|Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.||Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Luke.|
|Cap. xv.||Ch. xv.|
|In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus Pharisæis et Scribis parabolam istam: Homo quidam habuit duos filios: et dixit adolescentior ex illis patri: Pater, da mihi portionem substantiæ quæ me contingit. Et divisit illis substantiam. Et non post multos dies, congregatis omnibus, adolescentior filius peregre profectus est in regionem longinquam, et ibi dissipavit substantiam suam vivendo luxuriose. Et postquam omnia consummasset, facta est fames valida in regione illa, et ipse cœpit egere. Et abiit, et adhæsit uni civium regionis illius. Et misit illum in villam suam ut pasceret porcos. Et cupiebat implere ventrem suum de siliquis quas porci manducabant: et nemo illi dabat. In se autem reversus, dixit: Quanti mercenarii in domo patris mei abundant panibus; ego autem his fame pereo! Surgam, et ibo ad patrem meum, et dicam ei: Pater, peccavi in cœlum et coram te; jam non sum dignus vocari filius tuus: fac me sicut unum de mercenariis tuis. Et surgens venit ad patrem suum. Cum autem adhuc longe esset, vidit illum pater ipsius, et misericordia motus est, et accurrens cecidit super collum ejus, et osculatus est eum. Dixitque ei filius: Pater, peccavi in cœlum, et coram te: jam non sum dignus vocari filius tuus. Dixit autem pater ad servos suos: Cito proferte stolam primam, et induite illum, et date annulum in manum ejus, et calceamenta in pedes ejus, et adducite vitulum saginatum, et occidite, et manducemus et epulemur: quia hic filius meus mortuus erat, et revixit: perierat, et inventus est. Et cœperunt epulari. Erat autem filius ejus senior in agro: et cum veniret, et appropinquaret domui, audivit symphoniam, et chorum; et vocavit unum de servis, et interrogavit quid hæc essent? Isque dixit illi: Frater tuus venit, et occidit pater tuus vitulum saginatum, quia salvum illum recepit. Indignatus est autem, et nolebat introire. Pater ergo illius egressus, cœpit rogare illum. At ille respondens, dixit patri suo: Ecce tot annis servio tibi, et numquam mandatum tuum præterivi, et numquam dedisti mihi hœdum, ut cum amicis meis epularer: sed postquam filius tuus hic, qui devoravit substantiam suam cum meretricibus, venit, occidisti illi vitulam saginatum. At ipse dixit illi: Fili, tu semper mecum es, et omnia mea tua sunt: epulari autem et gaudere oportebat, quia frater tuus hic mortuus erat, et revixit: perierat et inventus est.||At that time: Jesus spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees this parable: A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance. And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country, and there wasted his substance with living riotously. And, after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country, and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And returning to himself he said: How many hired servants in my father’s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee; I am not now worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hire servants. And rising up, he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion; and running to him, fell upon his neck, and kissed him. And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee; I am not now worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shes on his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry; because this my son was dead, an dis now come to life again, was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his eldest son was in the field; and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing, and he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. And he answering said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandments, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends; but as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. But it was fit we should make merry and be glad; for this thy brother was dead, and is come to life again, he was lost, and is found.|