Third Sunday of Great Lent | The Prodigal Son

All the tax collectors and the sinners approached to listen to Him. So He talked to them using this parable. With this proverb He opened the heavenly gates before the sinners. He revealed the Father’s overwhelming love for our return to Him. He is not pleased by the death of a sinner, but to his return and to live. It is known that our Lord Jesus came to inform us about the Father. Here our blessed Jesus announced the secret of the Father’s thoughts with respect to our return to Him. Here is the rejoicing of the returning from a long trip, from far away countries, and the darkness of death. In the whole Bible, there was no approach towards us sinners, as much as what Jesus reveled in this parable… For Jesus talks like God’s only begotten Son, and revels the acceptance into Himself within the Father. Therefore, without the Son-ship, there is no repentance, no hope, no life and no return to enjoy the bosom of the Father.

Therefore, the baptism, which makes us sons of God, is the foundation of our repentance…Hence, our return to the Father is based on our son-ship towards Him. For, if we were not His sons, how could we return to Him?
The banishment away from the Father.

Let us gather our thoughts and concentrate on the declaration, which our Lord Jesus reveled for us with respect to the Father… This is with respect to the Son, the repentance for the sin, the obedience, and the forgone world’s forgeries… (all of these kindled all our mercies). These are the human expressions concerning and describing Godly matters… We have experienced all these matters, not by words, but by deeds… For who among us haven’t tasted the bitterness of sin and its torment? Who among us was not filled from the husks of the swine? Let us concentrate our thoughts on the compassionate Father.

When his father saw him he was compassionate

These are unspoken words that describe the depth of the persistence, of the Father’s compassion. For the compassionate Father could not withstand seeing me in humility or slavery… And when He sees me approaching Him, in my sinful outfit and defile, He is triumphant in His compassion as He did when Lazarus’ sisters told Him, “Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.” (John 11:34, 35). For my sight is the tomb of my desires and the rotten sent of my sins, this captures the Lord’s compassion and His tears.

He fell on his neck and kissed him

I willingly left you, O Fatherly bosom… I went embracing the world opening my heart to desires… My lips were full with defile and deception … My thoughts from within were to fall in the bosom of joy and happiness. But I was going from one grief to another… I placed my lips on stolen and counter fit water springs, therefore I still thirst… So, my Father give me your kisses, for Your love is sweeter than wine, and your desire is honey in my mouth. Your left arm embraces me… Don’t let me go… Enclose me within Your arms. No one could snatch away whoever is in Your hands… Your right arm is full of power… In Your hands I place my soul.

He fell on his neck

My neck, is the one that fell in the fury of slavery desires, and my head bowed in its residence. The shame of sin and disgrace were upon it… The Father’s love liberates me… His kisses lift my face… O Lord liberate… Free me with love and kisses, and cleanse the defile from my soul.

Bring forth the best robe

My best robe… My pure baptism… My first cleansing… My simple thoughts without sin… My honest infancy, which doesn’t know evil. It is without cunning, deceit or any other defile. Blessed is He who dressed me ine a robe… From all of these the world had deprived me (uncovered me)…I was wearing, the contaminated worldly thoughts. I had on hypocrisy and flattery the worthless talk and the worry of riches. I was different from the worldly children, after I was suited with Jesus, O eternal Fatherly love… Could I return to my first garment (robe) and my original condition? Would my glory return? O what honor, do the sinner and adulterers gain, when they return to the Father… My Lord: how lost I was without the blessed garment and the robe of salvation?… I changed a lot since my baptism… Suit me into my original robe. Truly, repentance is the renewal of baptism, and as the fathers say, ‘It is a second baptism’.

A ring in his hand, and shoes on his feet

The hand is the work, and the feet are the means towards the objective. Both were at a large distance from the Father… For my hands labored for the body, to work to feed the swine. My hand is tired from the work in defile, and here it is returning to God after exhaustion from the grasp of wind. Place in it a ring, a Christ ring, to work for the heavenly… To work for the eternal life… To work for the harvest. Place in it the sanctified ring to work in the Lord’s labor with strength and without exhaustion. Place in it the engagement ring and the unity with God, so that it will not return to work for its own, but for that Who sacrificed Himself for it. The ring in my hand substitutes the nails in the hands of Jesus. How precious and priceless it is. O my soul, don’t return and deviate from the love of the Lord. Don’t return to take off the glorious ring, which is His commandments and words ‘So let the words, which I advise with today be in your heart, and make it a ring in your hand’. But how far have my legs taken me. It was wondering in distant countries. My feet have stumbled through numerous thorns. My feet left my father’s house with shoes on. This resembled the readiness for the peaceful Bible with cleansed feet, with Christ’s hands after the supper, with a word as a lantern before my feet. My feet were strangers in the world. I walked in the valley of death… I dwelt in the destructive path, in cracks, in holes, traps and evil. I lost my shoes. The sole of my feet were tormented. There is no power to move or to reach the kingdom after all. Even after all these, You returned everything to me… O my legs there are roads that seam wonderful, but end in death. O my soul, these shoes are for the rough road, so that you don’t limp when walking towards the Father. My Lord and my God protect my feet from slipping…

Present the fat bull and slaughter it so we can eat and rejoice

The Father’s feast is a sacrifice of joy. It is the sacrifice of joy and the food of eternal life. My soul thought that it could be filled with the worldly food. Therefore the world presented it with a lot of temptations. But it was shielding behind the temptations the swine husks. ‘Why do you weigh silver without bread, and your labor without fullness, listen relentlessly to me, and eat well, and let your souls enjoy the plenty.’ “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents.” (Luke 15:7). O brethren let us please the Father’s heart with our repentance and our return. We had enough banishment and enough humility, in far away land. Let us enjoy the Father’s bosom and His Son Jesus Christ and the heavenly rejoice.

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