And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided unto them his living.
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Cornelius a Lapide
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. The younger, i.e. sinners and harlots. For youth is less restrained, more foolish, more inconstant, and more prone to indulgences of every kind. According to the Fathers, the "goods," "substantia," must be taken to mean man"s free will, called in Greek Î²Î¯Î¿Ï‚. "Because by it," says S. Jerome, "man lives freely and as it pleases him." "For," observes Theophylact, "the substance of man is the capacity of reason which is accompanied by free will." S. Ambrose and others, by substance, understand more fitly the grace of God, virtues and good habits. For it is these which are really wasted and destroyed by the sinner, whilst his free will cannot be lost, as is clear from the parable. You may therefore take the word to mean all the gifts of God, of body and soul, of nature and grace; for these the younger son demands to be entirely given up to him, because he was unwilling any longer to subm...
It is very probable, from this verse, that the children of the family, when come to age, could demand of their parents the share of property which would fall to their lot. For these parables suppose the ordinary practices of the country, and are founded on what was customarily done. Grotius thinks this was the common law among the Phoenicians.
The Gentiles, prefigured by the prodigal son, received from their father, (the Almighty,) free-will, reason, mind, health, natural knowledge, and the goods which are common to mankind, all which they dissipated and abused. Sinners who have besides received the gift of faith and sanctification, by baptism, and who have profaned the holiness of their state, by crimes, are more express figures of the bad conduct of this son. (Calmet) ...