Part of the renewal experience of Lent is to try to become more truly disciples of Jesus – to share more deeply values, his outlook, his attitudes – to have the same mind, the same way of thinking as Jesus had. In today’s Gospel, we are confronted with the attitude of God towards the wrong-doer–God’s deep desire to forgive, and be totally reconciled with the one who has severed relations with him. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the emphasis is less on the son than on the father – who clearly represents, and Jesus. No-one can deny the appalling behaviour of the younger son.
He took all that his father generously gave him, but used it to lead a life of self-centred indulgence. Eventually his money runs out, and he is reduced to eating the pigs’ food. At last, he realises the wrongness of what he has done, and turns round to go back to his father, who runs out to meet him, embraces him, and brushes aside the speech his son has prepared. This is forgiveness, this reconciliation – and on the part of the son, this is conversion – a real turning around of his life.
We thank God that we have a Lord who is so ready to forgive, and welcome us back, again and again. Jesus’s arms are always wide open – on the Cross.