My very first experience with the concept Lent was at primary school when I was a second grader. I learned that Lent was a time of Penance. Penance was identified with the Sacrament of Reconciliation itself because of its final and indispensable role in the process of reestablishing a good relationship with God after being tainted with evil that moves us away from the truth.
“The Parable of the Lost Son” is a perfect example that illustrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
It seems like disobedience is, to some extent, part of our human nature. We struggle to abide by our commitments but the tendency is, most of the time, to stray from our responsibilities. On the other hand, it is also normal and natural that we come back to our senses and decide to amend our lives.
Today, the Church is asking us to meditate on the “Parable of the Lost Son” from the gospel according to Luke (Lk 15, 1-3; 11-32). There are two aspects I want to focus on from this reading. The first is the decision of the “prodigal” son to come back to his Father with a humble spirit, and the second one is the active patience of the Father waiting for his esteemed son to come back home.
This special moment of the liturgical calendar is a time we must take to review our lives as baptized called to witness God’s love for all humankind. What do we do with the many gifts and blessings our celestial Father keeps on granting us? Do we use them wisely sharing with our sisters and brothers in less privileged situation, or do we simply squander what so generously we received?
The point is not how we deal with all the vicissitudes of our lives. What matters is to wake up and take the plunge that consists in examining meticulously our everyday life. If it is not the way it should be, we have the consolation of knowing that our Father is actively waiting for us with his arms wide open to celebrate our repentance while providing us his merciful and lovely forgiveness.
God suffers our indifference but He respects our freedom and free will. It is up to us to choose to remain in our misery or to wisely use our gift of freedom to step back to God and thus, provoke great joy in heaven because of our repentance.
Augustinian Pre-Novice, 2011