On this the last Sunday and day of the month of February 2021, we again hear the Gospel of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). This gospel lesson is about a son who runs away from his home and his father, squalors away his inheritance and eventually down and out from high living returns home to his welcoming father.
St. Simeon the New Theologian compares the teachings of Jesus Christ to a chest of jewels, diamonds and rubies and other precious stones, which, when opened, gleams with the rays of light. One of the greatest jewels of Christ’s teachings is this Parable of the Lost son.
Even though the story is called the Parable of the Prodigal Son, it is the father who is the central figure. It is the love of the father for both sons, his sons, in the story that enlightens us. Even though his two sons, difficult as they are for different reasons, the father loves the two of them unconditionally with a love that seeks not its own. He loves each son, because they are his sons, a part of him, not just in a physical way but also in a personal and spiritual way. If he were to lose one son, he would lose part of himself, and if the other son would stay angry and resentful then the father would be unhappy.
You see dear Brothers and sisters, the father, in his love, reaches out to do everything in his power for his sons benefit, without violating their personal freedom. In other words, there is nothing that the father would not do that could ever make him stop loving either of them.
Before us we have a perfect icon of God’s love for his creation, for Jesus, through the parable, wants us to know God’s abiding LOVE, and that His concern, His joy, is to have us live near Him as His sons and daughters. This is the story of true repentance, through which the Church, entreats and inspires us to seek true repentance and forgiveness during the period of fasting before the precious and holy Pascha of Our Lord.
Great Lent, which is drawing near, affords us the opportunity, for increased prayer, self-examination, and the conversion of the heart and renewal of the mind. Repentance, true repentance is connected not with gloom and doom, but with joy, for it frees us from those things which have kept us “afar off away” from the Father, beckoning us to come back to Him, with a change of heart and mind.
There is no other way to express the important lesson of this parable and therefore the true message of Jesus, then the words of the father himself to his other son, “my son was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found” (Luke 15:24).
Glory Be to God for All Things!