The Gospel of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32) is the second Gospel we read in the pre-Lenten period. There’s so much to be said about this parable but I’m going to stick with one thing: the return of the prodigal son. I don’t know about you but every year when I hear this Gospel at church I identify with the prodigal son and find myself living in a faraway land like him. For some reason, the winter months are the driest times for me. With midterm season and winter blues, once I get to February/March I feel so drained spiritually, mentally and physically. The Sunday of the Prodigal Son always seems to come at the right time. As I do every year, after hearing the Gospel, I ask myself once again: “How did I let myself get this far?” I find myself trying to make up excuses or finding people to blame but quickly realize there is no one I can point the finger at.
One of the lessons from this parable is exactly that. There is no excuse for us not to return home. The path is clear and wide open. The door is unlocked. The Father is waiting. All we have to do is get up and go. In fact, if I may borrow the words of Fr. Antony Hughes, “God is only a change of mind away.” Wow! It’s so simple. That’s what repentance is all about, isn’t it? The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, which means, “to change one’s mind.” Mind blown! (Pun intended.) So, can we make that change?
This parable is a call for all of us to come home. Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us! He’s waiting to heal our wounds. He’s waiting to kiss us and embrace us. He’s ready to forgive us and restore us. Great Lent is our journey back home. So let’s pack our bags in the next week so we can be prepared to embark on this journey.