"I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."- Luke 15: 18-19
This Gospel fragment tells us the well-known Parable of the Prodigal Son and encourages us to reflect on our own sinfulness. Like the prodigal son, we are all weak and sinful; we often choose to turn our backs to God through various words, decisions, actions we take.
But are we brave and humble enough to admit our sinfulness, to say clearly "I have done this wrong" before ourselves, before other people, and before God? The prodigal son was able to do that - he even admitted that he is not worthy of being called his father's son and decided to lower himself and become his servant. Would we be able to do the same thing? Can we find so much humility in us?
Further, what are the circumstances in which we admit our sinfulness? The prodigal son reflected on his behaviour only after good times ended. He spent all his money, there was hunger in a country, he did not have enough to eat even after taking a job of feeding pigs. In his misery, he remembered his father, his house, all the food and riches there. Are we the same: do we reflect on ourselves, turn back to God only when the tragedy strikes, when we feel a misery caused by our sins? Or, do we make an effort to reflect on our behaviours, words, decisions on a daily basis, even at times when we might think sinning is actually profitable for us or brings us pleasure? All sins have consequences but often we do not feel their negative impacts immediately. Though God might also allow suffering to come to make us reflect and repent. It is thus important to examine our conscience and behaviour regularly, and to turn to God on daily basis.
If we failed to do so, however, we do not need to despair. The loving Father is always waiting for us, ready to welcome us back at any time, no matter how much time has passed. As it is written in the Gospel: "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)
Reflection on Luke 15: 11-32 by Agata Wierzbowska
(Listen to podcast here)