What else is there to learn from the story of the prodigal son? Except to avoid becoming one like him. We think we know everything about this parable and what it is telling to to do. We want to avoid becoming a prodigal to our parents, and to our Father in heaven.

But the story of the prodigal son reveals a hidden hope about experiencing the mercy of God.

The young son has become a poster boy of bad behavior – getting his inheritance, abandoning his family, living recklessly, losing everything in an instant, living in misery.

But surprisingly, when all is lost, the prodigal makes the most crucial and courageous decision of all – to return to his Father. That would be difficult and shameful, but he would love to trace his steps back to where he came from.

What is waiting for him there? No more inheritance, just some food, just a warm bed.  And how was he to look into his Father’s eyes and was he ready to listen to scolding reprimand? How was he to face his older brother?  Was it easy to feel the ridicule of the household servants?

He must have been truly inspired by something. The boy gets up and immediately return home, without listening to fear and shame.  He was humble enough to experience the mercy of his Father. He has lost all pride. In his heart there was a gamble to make: he would only trust that his Father will not send him away. That his Father would understand, as before.

And it happened. Instead of anger, the boy felt the Father’s embrace. Instead of reprimand, he felt the warmest welcome. Instead of shame, he felt an undeserved honor.

When we lose the life of grace, it is easy to lose our way as well. Pride tells us not to return to the Father. Fear tells us to move farther away.

But the grace of God makes our heart ready to feel sorry, to ask pardon, to beg mercy and to experience the incomparable love of God.  This Lent, may we be like the prodigal son in his trust and confidence that the Father will understand.