Most Australian baulk at seeing the poor, captive and oppressed as our sisters and brothers? What would it mean for us to fully accept them as brothers and sisters and be reconciled? That young man in prison for using crack cocaine, for example — what would it mean for us to call him brother? This parable is told for my benefit as a competent white male of the 21st Century in good standing.
God in Jesus Christ is inviting me to the heavenly party going on because of the work of reconciliation begun in Jesus Christ. But first I need to be able to see my estranged siblings.
The theology of Jesus teaches us that our most common blindness involves us in not being able to see victims as anything else than unrelated others. We fail to see them as siblings, as fellow human beings, and so we fail to see them as estranged. And, most tragically, we fail to answer the call to be reconciled. If Jesus’ heavenly Father is trying to get us to see them as brothers or sisters, our response is so often like the elder brother’s: “this son of yours,” never “this brother of mine.”