When we the perfect, the always faithful, read the story of the Prodigal Son, we close the book and look around us with delicious complacency. We have never abandoned God nor have we wasted his gifts. We do not notice that we are like the older son and that our conduct needs a profound conversion during this time of Lent.
The oldest son was not as perfect as he pretended to be. When he returns from camp he hears the music and the dancing and his resentment flourishes. He does not look for his father to share in his joy; he interrogates the servants and when he hears that his brother has returned he manifests his envy, his ire and does not want to go to the fiesta. The father comes to invite him and he talks to his father contemptuously saying “that son of yours…”
It is sad also to see that the young son does not say one word of gratitude to the father. Not one thought does he have for the sweat that it possibly cost the father to put together this inheritance. The father is reduced to being the transmitter of the heritage. All this son is interested in is the inheritance, not his advice, his values or his affection. He asks for his share of the inheritance as if his father were already dead. He returns without shame, frequently to ask for more, perhaps because things did not go well for him, he has no more money that is why he remembers his father and returns.
The Father who thought about him every day and waited for him sees him from afar and runs to him. He is filled with joy, hugs him and kisses him. Now there is no referring to his sin, his reasons, no reproach. There is only a reason to have a great fiesta because he has recovered the son he thought was dead.
In this parable everything is surprising. God has never been painted with these designs towards man. He has touched more hearts with this one parable than with all the sermons put together by many preachers.
There are Christians that have experienced the sacrament of reconciliation like the Prodigal Son did. It is one of the happiest and most joyful memories in the life of a priest. People who come out from the confessional with joy and peace to begin a new life. This can also be an experience for you to receive the embrace and forgiveness of God during this Lent. Step forward and be inspired.
Rev. Wilson Cuevas, Pastor