" And he arose and went towards his father's house, but when he was still a great way off, his father saw him, and was sorry for him, and ran and embraced him. Then he told his father how he had sinned and had lost his title to be called the old man's son, but the father was so glad to have his son come back repentant, that he told his servants to bring the best clothing and a ring to put on his son. And he made a great feast, and they were merry, for he said, "This is my son that was as one dead to me and is now alive again; he was lost and is found."
Jesus says it shall be so with all those who set their minds upon storing up riches in this world, rather than laying up treasures in heaven by pleasing God and working in His service. Death will come when they least expect it, and they will have to leave all their earthly riches, and go where no treasure has been laid up for them.
What a foolish man the builder of the house shown in our picture must have been! Of course, when the wind blew and the waves dashed against his house, it would fall. Look how the sea has washed the foundation away, and how the roof is falling in! And the people; see how they are fleeing to save their lives! And all this calamity because he built his house upon the sand. But the other house, shown in the distance: how firmly that stands! What a bold front it offers to the waves, and how safely it resists the fury of the storm. Its foundations are sure, because they rest upon the solid rock.
" And they let down the net into the sea, but it enclosed so great a multitude of fishes that they could not draw them up; and the net brake. Then Simon beckoned to his partners, James and John, who were in the other boat, that they should come and help them. And they came and filled both boats with the fishes, so that they began to sink.
His parents were amazed when they saw Jesus in such company. But Mary, while she rejoiced at finding Him, gently said, "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." Jesus replied, "How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"
When the angels had departed, the shepherds returned to Bethlehem; and there, in a stable, they found the infant Jesus, lying in a manger, watched over and cared for by His mother Mary and Joseph. And so great was the surprise and joy of the shepherds that they went out and told all they met of the wondrous things which they had seen.
So King Herod first sent for the learned men of the Jews, the chief priests and scribes, and demanded of them where Christ should be born; and when they had replied that it was to be in Bethlehem, he secretly called the wise men before him, and inquired of them what time the star appeared. After getting the information he needed, he dismissed the wise men, bidding them to go to Bethlehem "and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him," said Herod, "bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also."
Jesus carrying his cross
Trial proof of the key block of Christ on the Mount of Olives, after Bassano. National Gallery of Art