Image from myktis.com
One of the central beliefs of our faith is that God loves us unconditionally. He never stops searching for us because He wants us to be with Him. He is always willing to give a second chance to those who have separated themselves from Him; today’s readings demonstrate this. They challenge us in our attitudes towards forgiving and not holding resentments.
In the first Reading, the prophet Zephaniah tells us that, although the people have rebelled against Him, God will forgive them and give them “lips that are clean”, so that they will turn to Him and serve Him. It would be a great thing if we had hearts big enough to forgive like that! Do we give those who have offended us a second chance, much less “seventy times seven” chances?
The Gospel brings to mind a situation that we can identify with: when confronted with a challenge, we often initially say: “I won’t do this”, as the first son said, or: “I can’t do it”. However, when we think it through, think around the situation, we often find that it is better to obey. Ezekiel tells us that God is always ready to forget the sins of one who repents (Ezek 18:21-24). The second son, who agrees to do what his father asks of him, but does not do it, reminds us of those who agree with the teachings of the Gospel, but do not carry them out: “Why do you say to me: “Lord, Lord”, but not do as I ask”? (Lk 6:46)
We must beware of being hearers of the Word only, not doers. There is a long way to go for “second son” people, whereas God is always ready to take back those who repent, “first son” people. Let us thank God that He is a God of second chances.