Prodigal Son's Elder Brother

During a Bible study discussion, our parish Priest indicated there is a custom or tradition that continues to this day that stems from the Elder brother in the Prodigal Son parable. Our assignment was to research and see if we could come up with the tradition. During my research, I came up with Maitre De, since it was the Elder Brother’s responsibility to greet guests at the door and to serve guests. This answer was incorrect. I am thinking the answer has to do more with a Catholic Church related custom. Does anyone know what custom or tradition continues to this day that originated from the Elder Brother in the Prodigal Son parable? Thank you.

No, I don’t. However, the Gospel scene has fascinated me for a long time; the younger brother seems to be resolved (he came to be a slave in his father’s estate, and was put back into “son-ship” status). However, while the father tells the older son how the son has always been “son”, nothing is heard as to whether the older son resolves his anger, and amends his attitude towards the father (obsequious comes to mind).

Interestingly, if one looks at the older son’s commentary, he is a “rule follower”, rather than one loving his father. One could see parallels to the Pharisees.

I think that Jesus left the story open ended for us to answer for ourselves. This scenario of siblings fighting for the love of their parents is common. If we look hard enough at ourselves we will see both the younger and the elder son. We can see ourselves as receiving forgiveness for our wrong doing but it is much more difficult to see ourselves forgiving the wrong doing of our sisters and brothers.

Perhaps this tradition is ethnic or cultural in nature? I’ve not heard of any such tradition.

What I do notice is that when I was young I always heard the wayward son emphasized when I heard preaching about this parable. Now that I am older I hear the elder brother and the father emphasized far more than I do the younger son.

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