Commentary on the Gospel of
It is said that “in times of peace prepare for war.” We can still say: “In times of turmoil and dissolution, prepare to meet God.” Setbacks in life and the wrong directions taken can turn into a revivifying encounter with the broken soul and merciful God. The ardent desire for God from whom one has distanced oneself is the beginning of return journey. The prodigal son passionately longed for his Father’s house in his estrangement (vv.17-18). When Ernest Psichari left the haunts of sin in France to go to the desert to find God, he said, “I have no stronger desire, firmer purpose than to go across the world to conquer myself by force.” “When we long for God, we do so not as sinners, but as lovers” (Fulton J. Sheen).
A genuine coming to sense like the Prodigal son experienced in the distant country, takes one closer to regaining the lost love and dignity. An honest coming to sense can be hurting because it may find us unlovable, but it is precisely that makes us look for God – because He is the only one who loves the unlovable. “Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, save me, save only me?” (Francis Thompson, Hound of Heaven).
The return of the prodigal son was culminated in a great banquet of joy, a feast of forgiveness. It was the anticipation of heavenly joy. “There is more joy in heaven for a repentant sinner than for the righteous” (Lk 15:7). Why this joy in heaven for a repentant sinner? Because of God’s attitude is not judgmental but loving. In love there is joy because the danger of losing the soul is no longer there. He who is sick is loved more than he who is well. Because he needs it more. The experience of the prodigal son reveals the merciful face, the true face of God vividly.