In our preparation for Lent, we hear in the Gospels that we have heard recently, a lot about the lost and the found. We heard about the tax collectors, the lost sheep, and today, about the prodigal son. We have been reading the Gospel of Luke, but Matthew also talks about these matters.

St Luke underlines that. What is important, is the fact that God, our Father, is very merciful towards the sinners, the lost. St Matthew tells us that God loves everybody and that He does not want anyone to be lost. All must come back to the Father’s house.

In the parable of the prodigal son, the most important person is not the lost son, but the merciful Father, who is always waiting for all his children to come back home. The door to His heart is always open. The Father will forgive anyone of his children who comes back to Him – to His Church.

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The second son in the parable can represent us, Christians, good parishioners, who always work within the Father’s house, but who might not always understand the Father. They might not realize how the Father looks at those children who are lost and need to come back.

Life as we all realize is not always simple. Each of us lives a different life. We have different needs, and we may need to look at life differently. For example, each of us might even have a bit of the prodigal son or even of the older son within us. We might need to reflect and repent if necessary, even though we have not totally left the home of our Heavenly Father.

Lent is coming in a few weeks. We know that we must pray and fast more during this time.

There are a few things we should consider during Lent. It is very important to realize that Lent is not about getting God to like us better. It is not about changing His opinion about us. Lent is about changing our minds and our lives so that we can return to God if we need to.

Our prayers, fasting or giving money is not going to change God. We fast so that we can discipline ourselves to better see the truth, as the prodigal son did, and to hear the advice of the father as the older son did.

Lent gives us an opportunity to repent, to make up with God, by confessing our sins, and then to celebrate in joy. The Gospel today does promise the celebration – a reward.

Our God wants to rebuild His family, to reunite it if it is in trouble. God always will come to those of his children who are lost. For example, He is merciful to the prodigal son, the tax collectors, the adulteress, and those who are possessed with demons. He even forgave those who crucified Him. His own disciples betrayed Him but were not rejected by Him.

During Lent we renew our friendship with God. It is a time to prepare for our participation in eternal life with Him.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

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