God is seeking us far more than we are seeking Him. God does not just come out to meet us half way, He comes out far more. If we take one step towards Him, He takes a hundred towards us. So, today’s Gospel is not just a story of repentance. It is a story of the way in which our repentance is accepted. It is a story of the loving father and how He goes out in search of His child and how He loves both His children, both the one that went astray and returned and the one who remained at home….
Let us notice in the story that the Father does not wait for the prodigal to say, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son, treat me like one of your hired servants.” The Father will not let him finish the sentence. Immediately, unhesitatingly, He restores the exile to his sonship. Nor is this all. The Father not only accepts his son back, not only restores him to his inheritance, but He accepts him back with an unbounded all-embracing joy.
So what we see — vividly — in today’s Gospel, is not just the repentance of the prodigal, but the love of the Father: love without limits.
The meaning of today’s parable, the message written on every page of Holy Scripture, is this: God loves us.
It is said of the prodigal, ‘while he was yet far off’ — is that not true of us? We are far off from our true home, but God runs out to meet us, He puts His arms round us, He unites us to our home, He invites us into the feast.
The sermon was delivered on February 20, 2011 on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son at the Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Westland, Michigan.