Above is one of Rembrandt’s earlier works in life. He is portrayed here living a life with no limits: drinking, partying, and women. A very young and free-spirited Rembrant. A prodigal son if you will. As we look to meditate on the Gospel for this weekend, I think we will find a very different person nearing the end of his life in the face of the father.
Here, in the face of the father, we find the old Rembrant, almost completely blind, but filled with joy at the return of his youngest son in what is considered the most popular parable told by our Lord: The Return of the Prodigal Son. So much can be said about this parable in light of this masterpiece, but I will only focus on one aspect: the hands of the father.
The hand of the left, so tender and soft, as if the father is caressing the wasted body of his youngest child. At the same time, the hand on the right, is firm and steadfast as if the father is telling the son, “I will not let you go.” With the image of these two hands, we see the paternal side of God! And in this circular motion of embracing, we have a hint of a divine and eternal love that the Father has for all his children no matter how far they run off.
Today, as we worship, consider this love of the Father, he clings to us, holds us, claims us eternally for himself. In him, we know our very identity. In him, we find our greatest joy!