Jesus Christ God and man

The Prodigal Son - The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

  The parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) reveals so many aspects of our journey through life in which we fall away from God as we seek to find joy and happiness elsewhere. It highlights that although we sometimes do things to be nasty, often we do things in life not to be deliberately nasty or evil but rather we do things because we genuinely think it will make us happy.
  The parable captures the suffering and heartache we experience when this pursuit leads to a spiritual starvation and we realise that by turning away from God we have actually isolated ourselves from the one and only source of eternal joy and everlasting happiness. It expresses the fear we have as we turn back to God and we begin the long journey home.
  When Jesus tells the story He reveals to us that He understands our struggles and our desire to find happiness. He knows our fears and worries when we realise we have strayed from God by searching for happiness in the wrong places. He appreciates the difficulties we face as we struggle to change our ways, and He reassures us that God is a good and loving and merciful and compassionate Father who is always willing to forgive us when we turn to Him with a humble and sorrowful heart. But Jesus also reminds us that just as we long for forgiveness and reconciliation with God, so also we must be willing to forgive those who have wronged us.
  In this parable Jesus has revealed to us the whole process of conversion and repentance, and in doing so He has given us an insight into the essence and purpose of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

  This article seeks to explain in greater detail this journey to God, and this great sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

Prodigal Son close up

Return of the Prodigal Son
Painting by Rembrandt (1662)

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