The third Sunday of the period of Great Lent is called the Sunday of the Lost Son, according to the Parable of the Lost Son told in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 15:15-32).
Like Adam and Eve, whom we recalled on the Sunday of Expulsion, the prodigal son decided to cut himself off from his source of life and well being, his father’s home, for what he believed would be freedom. For us that would be the Church, the Body of Christ, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. What the son experiences instead of true freedom is exile, poverty, and hopelessness. The prodigal son realised his shame. By facing his condition, he acknowledged his dependence on his father, arose, and returned home, at which point reconciliation between them was fulfilled when his father forgave him, clothed him, and offered a sacrifice for him.
The elder and the younger sons in the parable, are the righteous and the sinful souls. The father received his lost son in the same way God receives the regretting sinner. The elder son symbolises all those who are righteous or think that there are righteous. The father explains to the elder son: “Your brother was dead, but now he is alive again.”
Through the entrance of sin into the world, we became susceptible to its influence, and just like the prodigal son, we cut ourselves off from union with our Creator, the source of life. As a result, we continually seek life and freedom outside of God and the boundaries he set for us in the Garden, the freedom to worship him alone.
Our reconciliation with God is fulfilled when we repent and participate in Holy Badarak. The sacrifice of Christ is offered to us as we offer ourselves to him. (The word ‘Badarak’ even translates as ‘sacrifice’ or ‘offering’). In Badarak, as we express our faith and live out the vows of our Baptism, we rejoin ourselves to the original source of life from which Adam and Eve cut themselves off, the Tree of Life, the fruit of which is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And like the prodigal son, when we return to our Father, we experience true freedom. That is, freedom and liberation from sin, exile, shame, and prideful arrogance. No matter how far we are from him, “Our Father” is patiently waiting to run toward us with mercy and forgiveness.