The Sunday Gospel is a Gospel referring to the forgiveness given to a repenting sinner and to the appeasing of an unforgiving pious man, Patriarch Daniel said Feb. 12.
On the Sunday of the prodigal son, the Patriarch of Romania delivered a homily from the Chapel of the Patriarchal Residence focusing on repentance and on the great love of our Heavenly Father for us humans.
The Bible passage [about the prodigal son] helps us comprehend how useful repentance is for our spiritual ascent towards Resurrection, understood as our rising from sin and as our joy of meeting Christ our Lord, the Patriarch said. The stairs on which we step in order to ascend spiritually departing from sin are the same the prodigal son followed and are essential steps for repentance.
The Head of our Church insisted on the fact that we can learn how to repent and how great is the joyful gift of forgiveness. The Patriarch said that finding the lost is something wonderful, and miraculous is the resurrection of the one who spiritually died. The human soul, he said, is blessed after receiving forgiveness of sins.
God respects man’s freedom even when he uses it in a harmful way. The Patriarch explained that the younger son wanted to experience total freedom as estrangement from his father and his parental home.
Surprisingly, the father accepts his son’s request and offers his share of his estate allowing him to leave the parental home. This is a clear proof, the Patriarch noted, that God respects man’s freedom to follow his own way in life. Man can use all the energy of his life, all his natural or acquired gifts according to his will.
Patriarch Daniel stressed that the Gospel reading from Luke shows how dramatic man’s freedom can be when it leads to estrangement from God.
The Patriarch reflected on the two types of people the Gospel presents in the person of the two sons. The greater son represents believers who love God and the Church; they are diligent and honest; they have a pure life and much devotion. But frequently, they are unmerciful and unforgiving towards sinners, whom they condemn rather than help in order to improve spiritually.
Since the compassionate Father forgives his prodigal, sinful but repenting son, he asks his other obedient and hard-working son to manifest compassion and forgiveness. The Sunday Gospel reading is a Gospel referring to the forgiveness given to a repenting sinner and to the appeasing of an unforgiving pious man.
The parable shows us God’s love for a repenting sinner. The Father of the prodigal son did not address any reproach to his returning son, nor did he ask for an inventory of the squandered wealth. A human soul saved for eternity is thus more precious than any other material treasure, the Patriarch noted.
Ending his homily, the Romanian Patriarch said that God’s merciful love overwhelms justice according to which the prodigal son should have been punished.
Photo credit: Lumina Newspaper