The one great thing that happened to the second son of the “prodigal” father was that he came to himself. Coming back to the self is the beginning of any conversion. Humans are the only ones in the biological kingdom with the capacity for reflection that is, looking back to one’s own self. Though every one of this species has this capacity only a few make use of it properly for the benefit of oneself and others.
This reflection by the straying, prodigal and grossly imprudent son turned his life over, brought salvation to himself and, in all probability we believe, also to his elder brother, who too was not properly using this God-given capacity of self-reflection, which leads to self-knowledge and growth and spiritual and even material progress.
Only coming to ourselves will make us know who we are, where we come from and where go to and what our destiny is. Once this happens, it doesn’t remain in our own self alone. We are likely to take with us a few others on our journey of realization. That is what St. Paul reminds us today, that we become ambassadors for God to lead many to reconciliation.
Actually what happened to this son was falling away from the embrace of love of the father and of the family. That is what happens to each of us when we are in sin. We distance ourselves from God, from our biological and divine family, from love, happiness and peace, make wrong choices and get alienated from our own self. We are wandering in arid and dry wilderness, we are alone, desolate and with no proper direction. These are consequences of sin.
From these we need to get out, go back to the Father and acknowledge that we are not worthy to be called a son or a daughter. Such humbling of the self from the bottom of our heart leads us to a deep embrace from the Father, a thorough washing, new clothes, new ring on the finger and a great banquet. All these processes are for restoring the broken relationship.
We humans are created to be in relation always, relation with our fellow beings, with the self and ultimately with God. Only when the relation to fellow-beings and with the self are rectified we can have a relation with God, our Father. Lent is the time that prompts us for a come back to the self with a thorough wash and getting ready for the Pascal Feast.