An Open-ended Question

Unlike a fairy tale, the parable provides no happy ending. Instead, it leaves us face to face with one of life's hardest spiritual choices: to trust or not to trust in God's all-forgiving love. I myself am the only one who can make that choice. In response to their complaint, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them," Jesus confronted the Pharisees and scribes not only with the return of the prodigal son, but also with the resentful elder son. It must have come as a shock to these dutiful religious people. They finally had to face their own complaint and choose how they would respond to God's love for the sinners. Would they be willing to join them at the table as Jesus did? It was and still is a real challenge: for them, for me, for every human being who is caught in resentment and tempted to settle on a complaintive way of life.
The more I reflect on the elder son in me, the more I realize how deeply rooted this form of lostness really is and how hard it is to return home from there. Returning home from a lustful escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself in the deepest corners of my being. My resentment is not something that can be easily distinguished and dealt with rationally.
It is far more pernicious: something that has attached itself to the underside of my virtue. Isn't it good to be obedient, dutiful, law-abiding, hardworking, and self-sacrificing? And still it seems that my resentments and complaints are mysteriously tied to such praiseworthy attitudes. This connection often makes me despair. At the very moment I want to speak or act out of my most generous self, I get caught in anger or resentment. And it seems that just as I want to be most selfless, I find myself obsessed about being loved. Just when I do my utmost to accomplish a task well, I find myself questioning why others do not give themselves as I do. Just when I think I am capable of overcoming my temptations, I feel envy toward those who gave in to theirs. It seems that wherever my virtuous self is, there also is the resentful complainer.
Here, I am faced with my own true poverty. I am totally unable to root out my resentments. They are so deeply anchored in the soil of my inner self that pulling them out seems like self-destruction. How to weed out these resentments without uprooting the virtues as well?
Can the elder son in me come home? Can I be found as the younger son was found? How can I return when I am lost in resentment, when I am caught in jealousy, when I am imprisoned in obedience and duty lived out as slavery? It is clear that alone, by myself, I cannot find myself. More daunting than healing myself as the younger son is healing myself as the elder son. Confronted here with the impossibility of self-redemption, I now understand Jesus' words to Nicodemus: “Do not be surprised when I say: 'You must be born from above.'” Indeed, something has to happen that I myself cannot cause to happen. I cannot be reborn from below; that is, with my own strength, with my own mind, with my own psychological insights. There is no doubt in my mind about this because I have tried so hard in the past to heal myself from my complaints and failed … and failed . . . and failed, until I came to the edge of complete emotional collapse and even physical exhaustion. I can only be healed from above, from where God reaches down. What is impossible for me is possible for God. "With God, everything is possible"
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注釈:
Unlike a fairy tale, the parable provides no happy ending. Instead, it leaves us face to face with one of life's hardest spiritual choices: to trust or not to trust in God's all-forgiving love. I myself am the only one who can make that choice.
「unlike」はここでは「・・・と違って」の意の前置詞。

In response to their complaint, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them," Jesus confronted the Pharisees and scribes not only with the return of the prodigal son, but also with the resentful elder son.
「confront」はここでは「・・・と対決する」。「scribe」はここでは「代書人として働く」。ここでは「神の代書人として」のニュアンスだと思います。「confronted」が過去形なのに「scribes」と現在形が使われているのは、聖書に書かれていることは現在も有効である、という意識からでしょう。聖書における、この箇所は下記参照。「resentful」は「憤慨している(aggrieved, dissatisfied)」。
『Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering round to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them." Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." 』

It must have come as a shock to these dutiful religious people.
「dutiful」はここでは「忠実な(dedicated, devoted)」。

They finally had to face their own complaint and choose how they would respond to God's love for the sinners. Would they be willing to join them at the table as Jesus did? It was and still is a real challenge: for them, for me, for every human being who is caught in resentment and tempted to settle on a complaintive way of life.
「resentment」は「憤り、憤慨(anger)」。「settle on …」はここでは「・・・を選ぶ」。「complaintive」は「よく不平をこぼす,ぐちの多い.」。

The more I reflect on the elder son in me, the more I realize how deeply rooted this form of lostness really is and how hard it is to return home from there.

Returning home from a lustful escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself in the deepest corners of my being.
「lustful」は「貪欲な」。「escapade」は「はらはらどきどきの冒険(exploit, adventure)」。

My resentment is not something that can be easily distinguished and dealt with rationally.
「distinguish」は「を区別する(separate)」。「rationally」は「合理的に、理性的に」。

It is far more pernicious:
「pernicious」は「ひどく有害な(harmful)」。

something that has attached itself to the underside of my virtue.
「underside」はここでは「見えない面」。

Isn't it good to be obedient, dutiful, law-abiding, hardworking, and self-sacrificing? And still it seems that my resentments and complaints are mysteriously tied to such praiseworthy attitudes.
「praiseworthy」は「(成功しなくても)賞賛に値する」。

This connection often makes me despair.
「despair」はここでは「絶望する(lose hope)」。

At the very moment I want to speak or act out of my most generous self, I get caught in anger or resentment.

And it seems that just as I want to be most selfless, I find myself obsessed about being loved.
「selfless」は「無私の、無欲の(unselfish)」。「be obsessed」で「取りつかれる」。

Just when I do my utmost to accomplish a task well, I find myself questioning why others do not give themselves as I do.

Just when I think I am capable of overcoming my temptations, I feel envy toward those who gave in to theirs.
「give in …」は「・・・に屈する」。「theirs」=「their temptations」。

It seems that wherever my virtuous self is, there also is the resentful complainer.
Here, I am faced with my own true poverty.

I am totally unable to root out my resentments.
「root out」は「を根絶する」。

They are so deeply anchored in the soil of my inner self that pulling them out seems like self-destruction.
「self-destruction」は「自殺」。

How to weed out these resentments without uprooting the virtues as well?
「weed out」は「を取り除く」。「uproot」は「を根こそぎ引き抜く」。
Can the elder son in me come home? Can I be found as the younger son was found?

How can I return when I am lost in resentment, when I am caught in jealousy, when I am imprisoned in obedience and duty lived out as slavery?
「imprison … in …」は「を・・・に閉じ込める」。「live out」は「を過ごす」。「slavery」は「奴隷であること」。「奴隷として一生過ごすように服従と義務のなかに閉じ込められている時に」。

It is clear that alone, by myself, I cannot find myself.

More daunting than healing myself as the younger son is healing myself as the elder son.
「daunting」は「人の気力をくじく(discouraging)」。「弟息子として私自身を癒すよりも気力をくじくのは、兄息子として私自身を癒すことだ」

Confronted here with the impossibility of self-redemption, I now understand Jesus' words to Nicodemus:
「self-redemption」は「自分で自分をあがなうこと」。「redemption」は「救出、キリストによるあがない、救い」。

“Do not be surprised when I say: 'You must be born from above.'”
「『あなたがたは新たに(上から)生まれなければならない』とあなたに言ったことに、おどろいてはならない」(ヨハネによる福音書3・7)

Indeed, something has to happen that I myself cannot cause to happen.
この「that」は「・・・なので」の意の接続詞。

I cannot be reborn from below; that is, with my own strength, with my own mind, with my own psychological insights.

There is no doubt in my mind about this because I have tried so hard in the past to heal myself from my complaints and failed … and failed . . . and failed, until I came to the edge of complete emotional collapse and even physical exhaustion.
「collapse」は「衰弱、意気消沈(breakdown)」。「exhaustion」は「極度の疲労(extreme tiredness)」。

I can only be healed from above, from where God reaches down. What is impossible for me is possible for God. "With God, everything is possible"
「"With God, everything is possible"」はマルコによる福音書10・27の引用。「神は何でもできるからだ」。「For everything is possible with God」としている聖書もあります。