In Luke 15:11-32, a parable is told by Jesus to a large crowd. A father has two sons, one of which asks for his share of inheritance to go out into the world. After spending all his money on partying and women, he is forced to scrounge around for food, stooping so low as to take food scraps from a pig's trough. Then he remembers his father, so he returns home and offers to be his father's servant. Thinking his was son was dead, the jubilant father has a celebration and kills the fatted calf. The older son, the son who was responsible, becomes jealous. He says, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!" The father responds with, "My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."

I know this is a parable about forgiveness, but from an objective standpoint, it also says we should celebrate apologetic irresponsibiliy and neglect hard work. That would be like getting a raise for accidentally burning down the office building and saying you are sorry, but getting fired for doing good work. It would be more logical to have the son become a servant and work his way back to his previous esteem position.

Another problem I have with this parable is when the father says "everything I have is yours," but according to the brother, he never even permitted him "to have a young goat." No one ever appreciates the hard worker. Does this mean if there actually is a Heaven that those people who were good all their life will be admitted but not celebrated, while those who convert on their death bed will be given a huge party?

Where does one draw the line? Wouldn't you be able to plead at the pearly gates that you "meant to be a good person," you just didn't have enough time? Why does being physically dead prevent you from trying to reach salvation? If God turns souls away after they have lost their body, what kind of forgiver is he/she? And if he is allowed to be a mediocre forgiver, why not everyone else? Why should I forgive people that have wronged me if God only forgives bodies. Maybe God is a vampire, and only bodies are useful to him... This parable is like a hint, telling us we don't have to live good lives, we just have to ask for forgiveness when we can't make it on our own. Do whatever you want, just be sure to ask forgiveness of the Almighty, NON-Contraditing Lord before you die!

Inevitably, it doesn't make any difference. This parable is one of the Catholic faith's staples. Any attempt to question its other meanings would be shut down quickly in an attempt to keep the lambs blindly following the shepard.