Today we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son, concerning a son who leaves his father and his brother and squanders his share of his father’s holdings.
Even though we call this the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the main and most important figure in this story is the father himself. We know after a life of high living the runaway son returns, greeted by the father, who has love for both his sons, even though difficult as they are and for different reasons.
He loves his sons unconditionally with a love that seeks not his own. He loves each son because each is his son, a part of him, not just in a physical way but primarily in a personal and spiritual way. If he were to loose the one, he would loose part of himself. If the other were to stay angry and resentful because of the way the father welcomed him back, then the loving father would himself be unhappy. In His love, the Father reaches out to do everything in His power for their benefit, without violating their personal freedom.
THERE IS NOTHING THE SONS COULD DO THAT WOULD MAKE HIM STOP LOVING THEM!
Here before us in words is an image of how God loves us. Jesus wants to teach us through this parable that God is love and His desire, His supreme joy, is to have us live near Him as His sons and daughters.
Yes this parable is about repentance but more so about the joy of repentance; not about gloom but about a glorious “about face”, a change of mind.
True repentance is not a religious duty but a sincere recognition of our unworthiness, the sincere confession of sins, and most of all complete trust in His Grace.
May Our Lord bless you on your journey to the Great and Holy Lent.