Today’s readings shows us God’s attitude towards us His children by emphasizing His love, mercy, generosity and forgiveness when dealing with us. In the first reading (Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14) we hear the story of how God relented in the punishment He had threatened to inflict on His people. In the second reading, St. Paul in 1 Tm 1:12-17 tells us, ‘Beloved: I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.’ Then in the gospel of Saint Luke (Lk 15:1-32), we are reminded of the great joy that will be in heaven over one sinner who repents, because we are loved by God.

It is a fact that today’s readings all emphasize the need for us to trust, hope and have confidence in the infinite mercy of God, but it also reminds us of the need to repent of our sins and return to the Lord. The story of the prodigal son we heard in today’s gospel reading reminds us to repent and return to the Lord and not to let pride impede our return to Him. The prodigal son’s adventure to repentance is worthy of emulation. Firstly, he examined his situation and condition to find out what led him to such suffering, then comes back to his senses. This is what we call An Examination of Conscience. Take a moment think about your spiritual life and find out what makes it difficult or impossible for you to be a true disciple of Christ. Find out those sins that have distracted you from focusing on God and have made you destroy your relationship with Him.

Secondly, when the prodigal son came back to his senses, he acknowledged his faults and sins and accepted full responsibility for them. This points to Contrition, which is the state of feeling remorseful and penitent for the sins committed, so that we can repent from them and return to God.

Thirdly, the prodigal son journeyed back to his father to ask for pardon and forgiveness because his prior actions destroyed his relationship with him. This is what we do in Confession, the sacrament of Reconciliation, where we ask God for pardon and forgiveness for our sins and absolution from the priest so as to come back to Him as His children.

My dear brothers and sisters, the story of the prodigal son is a reminder for us to repent and return to God because we are all sinners. Yes we are sinners, but we can never be lost as sinners unless we stop trusting and believing in God’s mercy and love for us. So let us follow the example of repentance shown us by the prodigal son today and go back to God by examining our consciences, by acknowledging and accepting our sins that is, being contrite and remorseful for them, then let us receive pardon and forgiveness for our sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession.