The Prodigal Son, Repentance and the Love of the Father

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most beautiful passages we can find in Luke's Gospel. It provides us with an illustration of materialism, weakness, the sorry and redemption, as well as a great lesson in love.

Mercy, as Christ has presented it to us in the parable of the prodigal son, has the interior form of love, which in the New Testament is called agape. With this parable, Jesus shows the Pharisees and the doctors of the law that a sinner who repents is more important to God than a group that feels righteous. The Bible says that there is joy in heaven when a sinner repents.

The Prodigal Son, Repentance and the Father's Love 1

Parable Story

Luke focuses on God's mercy towards sinners, and does so with three parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.

Luke 15:1-3 At that time all the tax collectors and sinners used to come to Jesus to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured among themselves, "He welcomes sinners and eats with them.

Jesus is surrounded on the one hand by tax collectors and other sinners, and on the other by Pharisees and teachers of the Law. The former approach Jesus to listen to him, the latter to criticize his approach to sinners.
Jesus proposes a parable where three characters appear, a father and his two sons, each representing a real personality: the sinners, the teachers of the law and Jesus himself.

The father was a rich man, who had worked hard all his life to accumulate great wealth, so great that even when his youngest son asked him to hand over his share of the inheritance, he still had abundant goods. He was a generous man, for the day laborers never lacked for anything and had bread in abundance.

In the youngest son we see the son who was raised with principles and tips This education will be noticed when after the suffering and hunger, product of his bad head, come the sorrow and guilt for having failed his father, and in spite of this, he makes many bad decisions. The older son was educated just like the younger one, with wisdom and care, he was taught to work and to manage wealth. This son, although he has been obedient and has not done anything to make his father suffer, will have to learn a great lesson.

Both sons are bad, the dissolute life of the younger son is mostly mentioned, but the no less serious situation of the older son is neglected. The younger son, because he departs from the father and wastes a good part of the family patrimony, with a clear attitude of irresponsibility, his sins were more evident, drunkenness and fornication. The older son because, although staying close to the father, he despises his younger brother and does not want to share with him. pride and pride.

Both with bad feelings, with a sick heart, full of pride and revenge. But there is a marked difference between the two, while the younger son is capable, moved by hunger and need, of realizing the situation he lives in, the older one is incapable of doing so because of his self-sufficiency.

The father is the central character, he respects the claims of his youngest son and lets him do what he wants, but then, when he sees him return, he is moved, goes out to meet him and remakes him in the dignity of son and heir. But he must also go out to meet the older brother who does not want to enter the house and moves him to reflect.


The central teaching of this passage is the behavior and attitude of the father, here is where the great lesson of love that Jesus wants to communicate begins (Luke 15, 20-25).

He arose and came to where his father was; while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved to tears; and he ran and threw himself on his neck and covered him with kisses. His son said to him, "Father, I have sin against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son". But before the boy finished speaking, the father called the servants and said, "Quickly! Bring the best clothes and dress him. Put a ring on him, and sandals too. Kill the fattest calf and let us make a great feast, for my son has returned! It is as if he had died, and he has come back to life. He was lost and we have found him. "And the feast began.

The repentant son goes to his Father, but in the end it is the father who runs to his son, driven by the inner emotion, this inner commotion that becomes an impulse to search, to seek mercy, since the son has never left his heart, just as a mother carries her child in her womb.

Mercy, pity and compassion rebuild the life of the other:

1) The father who runs to meet his son first embraces him, the father humbles himself more than the son himself.Without waiting for explanations, he does not ask for prior purification, nor does he take distance but on the contrary, he is driven by a great and immense closeness regardless of the fact that he is dirty, for him it is simply his son and he has returned.

 2) Kisses himThis act is the expression of paternal forgiveness, and it is to be noted that forgiveness is offered prior to the son's confession of repentance.

 3) He sends her to put on the best dressWith this action, the father restores his son's dignity and confirms his former privileges, the old dress, his past, his experiences are left behind, it is not necessary to know what motivated him to take this attitude.

 4) Sends him to put on the ringIt is a strange gesture for a son who wasted money, but it renews trust and gives him back the responsibility of administering the goods.

5) He sends him to put on sandalsThis was a privilege of free men, even in a house only the owner would wear them, not the guests, this gesture is a delicate refusal to the son who was going to ask to be treated as a day laborer.

 6) Has the best steer slaughteredThe fattest and best fed, the most cared for animal, which was reserved for some important celebration in the house, a reserved gift, this was the moment, it was a special occasion, an extra that God gives and asks for.

7) Call a party, the joy seems disproportionate, but the father explains the reason why he does it, the great value of the son's life, mercy, which is manifested with joy.

On the other hand, the eldest son confronts the father. "Now that that son of yours is coming back, after wasting all of your money With prostitutes, you kill for him the fattest calf!"The pride of the eldest son is noticeable here: your son, in a derogatory way, did not say my brother, perhaps he considers him morally so low as to name him brother. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, says the Bible and this son shows his only concern: the squandered material good. He does not ask if his brother is well, he only cares about the lost capital. The father then makes him see that everything he has belongs to him because he has been obedient and loyal. But his brother is alive again and that is worth celebrating.

Father's Love

Mercy, love The father's attitude towards his children in this parable breaks the patterns of human behavior; it would be difficult for us to do as he does. That is why he is an image of God, a merciful Father, ready to go out to meet everyone, because we are all sinners and need the help of God. God's forgiveness.

It is an invitation to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation and to place our lives as sinners in the hands of our heavenly Father, rich in forgiveness. Those who keep the law are given what they have been promised, not by merit but by grace, but first they must be able to feel love and show mercy. The scribes and Pharisees studied the law and kept it, yet Jesus prophesied that their house would be taken away from them. The reason: hardness of heart.

God's forgiveness comes to everyone who wants to accept it, only that one must enter the house of the father. Lord, help me to return to you every day, as the prodigal son did.


Jesus urges us to never stop at the surface of things, especially when we are in the presence of a person. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity each one of us is capable of.

No one can be excluded from the mercy and love of GodThe Church is the house that welcomes everyone and rejects no one. Its doors remain open, so that those who are touched by grace may find the certainty of forgiveness.

The greater the sin, the greater must be the love that the Church expresses for those who repent and convert. With how much love Jesus looks upon us! With how much love he heals our sinful heart! Jesus is never afraid of our sins.

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