The story of the prodigal son is one of those stories we are very conversant. Almost every Christian knows about this. Many writers and commentators have also written extensively about him.
It is not surprising that in some recent reflections, there is now a shift of attention from the prodigal son to his brother.Therefore, in today’s reflection, our attention focuses on the return of the prodigal son.
The return of the prodigal son and whatever happens at his return reveals what also happens when we decide to come back to God.
Before the Return.
1. The decision to return to God is not something to be forced. So, no matter how you talk to anyone or how you feel they will hear and repent, the decision comes from the heart.
The prodigal son, on his own, decided to return to His Father when He discovered the emptiness of staying away from the Father. Therefore, to return to God we have to make that willful decision to come back to Him. It must be a decision that comes from the heart.
He said, “I will leave and go back to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and you; I no longer deserve to be called your son again; please treat me as one of your paid servants”. Hence, this is a decision we have to make if we truly want to return to God.
2. Before he decided to return, the prodigal son was very sorry for His sins. He regretted ever leaving His father’s place in the first place. So, to return to God, we must be truly sorry for our sins.
3. After the decision, the prodigal son left the place he was. Hence, he did not think of coming back to that place again. Therefore, when we decide to return to God, we do not need to regret ever leaving the sins we have been committing.
Sometimes we see it as if someone is forcing us to repent. To willfully return to God is a decision we have to make. Hence, there should be no longing to go back from where we come from.
At His Return.
1.When the Prodigal son returned to the father, the father saw how untidy he was and pitied his condition. Whenever Jesus meets people who are suffering, He will be moved with compassion. God knows that we have been suffering in sin. So, when we decide to turn back to Him, He always moves with pity to forgive.
2. When the Father saw his son, He was the one that first ran to Him. This attitude is a sign that He longs for the return of the son.
In essence, whenever we decide to confess our sins and return to God, we will find out that God has been there waiting for the day we shall return to Him. He is fully ready to welcome us back again. God cannot send any penitent away who comes to Him with a sincere heart.
3. The prodigal son says “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you…” this prayer is similar to the prayer we say before confession “Father forgive me for I have sinned…
So, on our return, we need to show God that we are sincerely sorry for the pasts and have made a willful decision to confess our sins to Him.
4. If you truly want to receive the mercy of God, we have to confess our sins and repent. The Father’s love at the return of His son shows that whenever we decide to return to God, God is always willing to forgive and welcome us back.
After His Return.
1. After the return of the prodigal son, His Father kissed Him and embraced Him. This attitude is a sign of love. Therefore, If you sincerely want to experience the love and grace of God at its fullest, then we have to return and seek forgiveness. We have to do this if we have to make God happy.
2 . The Father removed the old clothes and put a new one on him. He put the best robe and a ring on his finger. His condition changed within a twinkle of an eye.
It shows that God changes our condition and purifies our souls when we truly decide to return to Him. There are more blessings in the presence of God than away from God. Hence, when we return and confess our sins, our state changes immediately. We become citizens of the kingdom of God.
3. By removing the old cloths, God removes our sins, pasts and filthiness. By putting the new clothes, He garnishes us with new graces, blessings and power. Our conditions changes.
4. The Father did not remember the past again. When the son returned and was pleading to His Father, he might think the He would be angry, judge and punish him, but He did not.
The only way to run away from divine punishment is to return to Him now and confess our sins to Him. When we decide to come back to God, He forgives us and does not remember our past. So let us not be a prison of our pasts.
6 . There was a celebration galore at the return of the prodigal son. Hence, we create a mighty banquet in heaven whenever we confess our sins and return to God. The angels, saints and hosts of heaven rejoice at our return. Let us go back to God.
God have mercy on us and give us the grace to remain close to Him Amen.